Duncanville High School’s Lead Theatre Arts/Debate Coach Rebekah Lowery, like most Texas teachers, is learning new teaching methods for her virtual classrooms. Lowery teaches six classes, five of which are different subjects. She teaches four theatre classes and two debate classes.
Lowery said, “At first, it was a little daunting to switch to a fully online teaching method. My classes are usually extremely interactive, so it has been a little limiting. I think my advanced classes are suffering the most though. While they are still learning, they are missing the hands-on experience that putting on a full theatre production provides. We had to cancel our seniors’ last high school performance, and that was truly heartbreaking.”
“I have worked with most of them since their freshman year, and this was not the send-off anyone wanted. On the other hand, I have seen some positive attributes of teaching online. I have students in my beginning theatre classes that are putting more into their performances than they ever have in person. They are free from any peer judgment, and that has helped many of them. I have also had fun coming up with creative projects. For example, my musical theatre class had to come up with a quarantine related parody similar to what has been all over social media. They are hilarious, and I think everyone had a fun time making them,” she said.
Theatre Arts Faculty
“Our faculty and administration have done a great job supporting everyone. They are, of course, setting high work expectations, but the thing that stands out is how much they’ve made it a point to care about their teachers’ mental health and fostering a positive environment. Our school also has an ‘Adopt A Senior’ Facebook page that one of the teachers started, and it has exploded within a few days. Faculty, parents, and even DHS alumni are adopting our 2020 seniors and giving them gifts and encouragement in this time. We are planning a summer graduation, but it’s a way for the community to show they care,” Lowery said.
Teaching Is Her Passion
Rebekah Lowery received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from UNT in 2012. She has been in theatre productions from the time she was six years old through college. She says teaching has always been her passion though, and she has been teaching at Duncanville HS for four years now. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Damone, and they have four children together.
Lowery said she has an amazing fine arts and theatre team at DHS that is always incredibly supportive. For the DHS play entry in the UIL, “Little Fool” by Craig Higginson, Lowery said Lucy and Sean Russell were directors along with her, and “they should get most of the credit since I was out on maternity leave in January.”
DHS Senior D’Aurus Poole
D’Aurus Poole is a senior who has appeared in all three musicals performed at Duncanville HS. He played Roger in “Grease,” Albert in “Bye Bye Birdie,” and Lionel in “Cinderella.” He is shown in the “Bye Bye Birdie” photo with another senior, Mackenzie Dotson, who is President of DHS Theatre group. We asked how he felt about acting during the quarantine.
D’Aurus said, “It’s honestly been hard considering whenever I am acting on a stage or in a class room, I have been taught to imagine that I am somewhere else-wherever the scene calls me to be. While at home, I’ve always imagined it as home. I’m in this environment that I associate with relaxing and winding down, and I am asked to still work hard. In that aspect it’s hard, but in this process I’ve gotten to know myself better. I’ve been forced to sit in silence and think internally without distractions from outside. This, I feel, will help my stage presence in the future. Knowing yourself and experiencing a number of events and emotions gives you more material to recall on stage and find the “YOU” in each character, which is one of the things I love about theatre. You learn about yourself by becoming someone else.”
DHS Senior Ja’Yanna Brown
DHS Senior Ja’Yanna Brown has also been in all three DHS musicals, most recently playing the title role in “Cinderella.” She plans to major in theatre arts.
Ja’Yanna said, “For me, it’s hard to not get the chance to interact with my peers and directors. And with all of my other classes’ online work, I feel like doing my musical theatre assignments gives me a break from all of that because I’m actually being creative, I’m having fun, and I’m doing something I actually love doing.”
DHS Senior Mackenzie Dotson
Mackenzie Dotson, a senior who has appeared in the school’s musical productions and is President of the DHS Theatre group, said, “”Quarantine has been really hard for me just because I miss seeing my theatre friends every day and working with them on our productions. There’s a bond that we all make on stage and at competitions that is much like a family. We all grow and learn together and I love having them in my corner.”
“Luckily, we are still getting to do what we love through online classes so I am thankful that we have the opportunity to do that! I consider my theatre assignments as my fun assignments that I get to do after all my boring core classes! It’s a fun break from reality and reminds me of why I want to pursue musical theatre! I truly love it, and I have a passion to perform and be the best actress I can be. I am definitely going to miss my directors and getting the chance to perform in Duncanville Theatre Arts.”