STEPHENVILLE (April 10, 2016)- KXTV selected SHS theatre teacher Mindy Pope as Teacher of the Week.
Pope was nominated by her students Alexus Duckett, Sarah Zieglar and Courtney McGuire. Pope received a gift basket from KXTV with a gift card from Blackies Bait Shop, a Pennington Premiere Real Estate Mug and a candle from Scott’s Flowers.
“It feels really nice to have a pat on the back,” Pope said. “I think everybody needs that.”
Pope is the only theatre teacher at the high school and teaches theatre one, tech theatre, JV theatre and varsity theatre. She has taught for 16 years, all of which have been at SHS except for one year at Iredell.
“When I started here, I taught speech and theatre, and then theatre has built up enough of a program that we can do theatre all day,” Pope said. “When I started here, we didn’t have tech theatre or anything like that. We just had one theatre varsity style class.”
Besides teaching theatre, Pope also coaches One Act Play (which is part of SHS’s theatre program), UIL film and UIL prose and poetry.
“I like seeing what [theatre] does for kids; I like seeing their confidence grow,” Pope said. “I like seeing their joy when what they are doing is out there on stage. I have a lot of kids that don’t want to be in plays, but they are running the light board, made costumes, built the set or whatever. Seeing them have that pride in what is up there is really cool.”
Pope first became involved in theatre in the eighth grade when she participated in One Act Play. She learned that first year she wanted to pursue theatre and was also able to shadow a Tarleton theatre professor that year as part of the gifted and talented program, which drove her interest even higher.
“I got to go to the costume shop and sit in on some of [the professor’s] classes, and I just thought that was the coolest,” Pope said.
After graduating from SHS, Pope attended the University of Texas in Austin for a semester before transferring to Tarleton. She graduated with a degree in English, secondary education and was certified in speech and theatre.
“I graduated with a degree in English because, as interested as I was in theatre, there aren’t that many jobs,” Pope said. “I knew I wanted to stay in the Stephenville area and knew that at a lot of the surrounding schools, you are usually an English teacher who then just takes on One Act play.”
Pope brings her practical viewpoint of theatre into how she teaches her theatre classes.
“Theatre is so much fun, but I don’t necessarily recommend it as a career,” Pope said. “You have to want it really badly to want to pursue acting as a career. So, I don’t necessarily approach it from that point of view. I approach it from more as the skills that you gain from doing theatre really are applicable to anything that you do in the future. Having confidence, setting a goal, completing the goal, problem solving, working with others, being a leader, all of those kind of things theatre can do for you.”
Outside of theatre, Pope loves to read, scrapbook, work with technology and spend time with her family – her husband, Aaron Pope, and her two daughters, Lauren and Emma Pope. She also teaches Bible drill, directs summer vacation Bible school and helps with the children’s musicals at Valley Grove Baptist Church.
“I was so fortunate to get [the SHS theatre teacher position] because I think this is where I’m supposed to be,” Pope said.