Who is my hero? That is honestly a tough question to answer. So many people have influenced me and have done so much for me it’s hard to decide. I feel normally one would say that their parents are their biggest heroes, and while that is true in my case, I feel it is necessary to give recognition to a woman who has done so much for me as well as a plethora of others. That woman’s name is Lisa Byrne. Lisa is an English teacher at Cato-Meridian High School and the absolute best teacher in the entire district. As if teaching multiple classes to a group of rowdy high schoolers wasn’t enough, she also is the director of the Cato high school and middle school Drama Club. Out of all the directors I’ve dealt with, she was the greatest to work with and I miss being able to work with her as much as I used to in middle and high school (I keep in touch with her projects and assist in any way I can while possible, even though I’m two and half hours away and constantly doing other work). In 7th grade I started having major panic attacks; one a day at least. This impacted my ability to get out and enjoy things, be social and all-together be a normal out-going high school student. My freshman year I signed up to run lights for the high school drama club show. Didn’t have to talk with anyone, it was dark in the both and I could mostly keep to myself. After the show that year my parents and especially Mrs.Byrne pushed me to try out for a part. The next year, I ended up doing just that. I ended up getting a small part in Footloose as one of Chuck’s gang members. But that all changed, when a virus decided to spread throughout the school district, leaving many students sick and behind on work. Those in the show who were unable to catch up with their grades were either removed from the play or recanted to smaller parts. Byrne came up to me at practice and asked if she could talk with me in private. She asked if I would be up for playing the part of Willard. I was extremely hesitant and wanted to give an answer then and there to get it out of the way; I said yes. With very little time to memorize my lines, lyrics and choreography, I did my very best to keep up with everyone else. Other than making me more busy with lines, having a larger part also forced me to communicate and get to know people better, which I did not enjoy at first. But as practices went on I started to become more comfortable. I survived all of practice and the three shows; I craved more. For the next two years I tried out for the musicals and got more and more into the world of theatre and performing arts. Even today I try out for the musicals and plays here in Alfred State. Being involved in such activities has changed me so much as a person in comparison to who I was throughout my 7th-9th grade year. Without Byrne, I probably would have a much harder time at college, going out to try new things and all together be able to enjoy life. If I were to thank her for every time I took a breath throughout my life, it would not be enough.
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