School searches for drama, student government teachers

Emma Garcia, Online Editor

At the end of this year, the current eras of two popular teachers will come to an end. Student Government teacher Michael Heberle, and drama teacher and director of the theater’s after school program, Richard Harlow, will be stepping down from their positions, with Harlow also retiring from teaching.

“At the end of this year I will have run student government for five years,” Heberle said. “I decided to step down mainly because of the birth of my son. On a daily basis I get to school around 6:15 to 6:30 and get home around six that night and student government just made it worse. In between the boosters, rallies, etc., I had no time.”

Heberle has long been an inspiration for his students that have been in Student Government.

“I’ve been in student government for all four of my years here and Heb has taught me a lot of things about leadership,” senior class president Isabelle Rodriquez said. “People don’t realize how much work goes into this job and he’s also the swim coach and teaches biology.”

The job of the student government advisor involves organizing rallies, the election of each year’s class of officers, the Every 15 Minutes program, and overseeing the school’s plethora of clubs.

“The program receives a lot of criticism both to the students and Heb, but those people don’t understand that running student government is like a whole other job,” Rodriquez said. “He teaches kids how to be leaders and he doesn’t make his students do things his way. He lets us figure out things on our own while guiding us along the way.”

The students understand why Heberle has made this decision but still are disappointed.

“I understand why he is stepping down since he’s a dad now,” ASB president Jay Halva, a senior, said. “But I do think that next year’s class is missing out because he’s such a great teacher and advisor. He lets you make your own mistakes and learn from them.”

Harlow has also made a huge contribution to the school’s community, both teaching the drama classes and directing the after school program that puts on about two productions every year along with the Comedy Sportz team.

“I have taught for 32 years at the end of this one and have taught drama at two different times, the first from 1994-2002 and the second from 2008 to now,” Harlow said. “My hope is that whoever they hire to replace me will be able to bring fresh ideas to the program while still appreciating the work I and the students have already done.”

Like the student government class’ reaction to Heberle’s departure, the students in the drama department are also accepting but disappointed.

“I think Harlow stepping down is something that’s good for his personal life but it is still upsetting for the theatre community,” sophomore Kirsten Weber said. “He’s made a creative, fun, and accepting environment for Bear Creek students and his lively presence will be missed. I think next year will be a change, but not a bad one. It’ll be a new perspective on theatre for our students.”

Looking back on her past four years in the theater, drama club president senior Alexa Castleman is happy to have had Harlow as both a teacher and a director.

“I think Harlow is making a good choice on account of how stressed he’s been,” Castleman said. “He’s taught all of us theater kids and his students so much, and we’ll always be grateful to have had that opportunity. I know in my heart that the department will go into trustworthy, good hands.”

Although only joining the after school program this year, sophomore Dalin Nelson is planning to return next year even though Harlow will not be there to direct.

“I’m going to miss Harlow and all of his antics,” Nelson said. “But I’m glad that he’s doing what makes him happy. I hope there is someone that takes over and that they’re as wonderful as Harlow is.”

No new teachers have been hired for the drama teacher position but English and AVID teacher Laura La Rue has been hired for the student government position.

“I have been assigned the student government and student activities courses for next year,” teacher Laura La Rue said. “There will be some changes to the Student Leadership class next year and I am excited about the direction of the program; however, meetings including administration, myself, Mr. Heberle, and students need to take place before the mission and vision of the courses are set.”