mentor; take two

I’ve been pretty lucky to have had mentors that, from a young age, have really truly believed in me. They gave me second chances when I messed up, pushed me to reach my full potential and helped me find my place.

A young, diva-esque freshman in high school, I auditioned for a role in the big musical. But, rehearsals were during volleyball. In true Casey fashion, I put a lot of thought into the choice of auditioning or not. I stopped by Tobie Henline’s office and explained my situation. I point blank asked her “if I get a small part, would it be worth my time? Would it be a good experience?”

If you know Henline at all, you can only imagine her reaction to this. She told me that she hoped any time someone was in her show it would be a learning experience, no matter the role. I thanked her for time and decided to audition. I checked the cast list the following Monday morning…

You guessed it. I wasn’t on the list. I knew there had to be a mistake. I looked for Henline and played dumb- asking her where the list was posted. She pointed me in the direction. THE AUDACITY- I thought. She didn’t say anything about me not making it. Rude. I decided I didn’t like her and proceeded to the bathroom to cry and call my mom.

Fast forward next trimester. I’m in her Drama A class. I’m hesitant, but nonetheless I give it a chance. Luckily for me, she gave me a chance, too.

Fast forward a couple years. I’m the State Board rep for my troupe, doing promotions for shows, acting in shows, helping out at the state conference and interning with Theatre League.

The second chance to be involved with the program isn’t the only thing Henline has ever done for me. But it’s what started everything else. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor while in high school. She really helped push me at a young age and stood behind me when I wanted to try new things. She was a supporter and a huge reason I’m in Texas for school. She’s also the reason I was able to start interning so young and get a jump start on my experience.

Going back to Hutch, I make a point to see Henline. We have great life chats. So much of what I learned in high school drama is applicable to college and the real world. It’s amazing seeing it firsthand and then debriefing it.

Thank you, Henline, for giving me the second chance I probably didn’t deserve and investing so much time and energy in my happiness and success. I owe a whole lot to you. I hope other students realize they should take advantage of your class and having you as a teacher- it’s truly life changing.

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