Newman Theatre Ed. Scholarship Created

James Williams
The Paw Print

Dr. Paul Newman, professor of theatre and the program director of theatre at Adams State College, and his wife Patti, have established the Newman Theatre Education Scholarship, which will aid students during their student-teaching semester.

The scholarship, awarded annually, is specially designed to help theatre majors who are going into teaching. “The time commitment required to student-teach makes it impossible to hold even a part-time job. We’re just trying to ease the burden on the students,” Newman said.

Added Patti, “We want to help students with a passion for theatre and teaching.”

Paul, known affectionately as “Doc” to his students, is especially proud of this combination. “We, as a department, have scholarships for merit and talent, but until now, we didn’t have anything that applied strictly to those planning careers in education, which account for about a third of all our students.”

“We have a hybrid program that is entirely unique. The bachelor of arts degree with secondary education licensure is the only one like it in the state, at least as far as we know.”

The Newmans have always been supportive of the theatre and education. They invite students to their annual end-of-the-year barbecue, and have listened to the tribulations and the triumphs of many students over the years.

Paul started teaching at the high school level in Minnesota, and taught English, speech, and theatre for 13 years before coming to ASC, where he has taught for the last 18 years. Patti is also an educator, with experience teaching a broad age range from the very young up to community college adults. She serves as the professional development director at the Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley, a non-profit organization that focuses on providing quality prenatal and early care and education for children and families in the SLV.

One of Paul’s favorite classes to teach is creative drama, which is especially popular among future elementary teachers. He makes a habit of inviting Patti to lecture on the value of learning through play and how that applies to early childhood education.

To the Newmans, theatre is an extremely important element in education. “Humans learn through play. It is a key element in all education, especially elementary education,” Paul said. Patti added that theatre can be a place for students who “maybe don’t belong someplace else. Theatre in the public school system helps provide a well-rounded education.”

Dede Mark, the first recipient of the scholarship who will begin student-teaching in the fall, said, “The award will help with tuition and leave some money for rent and food. It is an honor to be the first selected.”

“It was awesome to see how creative drama can engage kids and is actually being done, not something just talked about,” Mark said. “Theatre gives kids a chance to express themselves. I love seeing kids discover their passion. It feels right to be pursuing this profession.”

Newman said, “Above all, we’re just happy to be able to do this. Patti and I believe in education, and we always have. Our lives have revolved around it. We’re happy to help those like Dede, who are passionate about education.”

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