A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Teacher Feature: Sue Williamson

Lifesize cardboard cutouts of Kit Harington and Johnny Depp line the walls amongst toilets, glitter and other relics of years passed. This is the sensory overload that any student who enters teacher Sue Williamson’s room receives, but these knickknacks are not all that she is.

Beginning her career at OTHS as a speech team assistant and substitute teacher in 1981, Williamson has been working on bringing up a brighter generation of learners since many of her current student’s parents were in school.

Now, 36 years later, Williamson continues to coach Speech Team along with directing two student plays every year, teaching the Honors English II classes, teaching an Advanced Speech class and holding the position of Head of the English Department.

An Honors English II student, Julia Daniel says, “She’s very passionate about what she does and she loves teaching us things for the future. She always has a good attitude in the classroom and is willing to help if one of her students is struggling.”

This truly attests to Williamson’s character as she does everything for the students. She says that the students and colleagues are her favorite part of her job, just as the casts and crews are her favorite part of each play that she directs. “The students also have made me laugh even when nothing in my life was remotely fun.” She explains. “That laughter also helps keep me young.”

Although she has loved her time at OTHS, Williamon plans to retire, as all teachers someday must, in 2019 and hopefully travel Europe. But for the most part, she still wants to remain close to home to spend time with her family and to watch the next generation of theatre students grace the stage. She plans to donate to the ever-shrinking fund pool for the theatre department after her retirement.

But however low the funding may become, Williamson will always love OTHS for its students. She says, “No matter what has happened throughout the day–everyday I have gone home grateful that I work at this school with these kids.”

And the students love her too. As a student of hers, myself, I thank Williamson on behalf of those current and those before me. She has taught us more than just grammar mechanics and how to stand on a stage. She has taught us how to be ourselves, and that is a gift we can never repay.