Colleagues and Students Honor Retiring Teacher

Theater teacher Marie Jones directed the program at Wake Forest High for over 30 years

Kathleen Cochrane, Assistant Editor

Dedicated theatre teacher Marie Jones had been working at Wake Forest for over 30 years when she decided to retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year. To honor Jones her colleagues Tim Domack, tech theater teacher and Vicki Crouse, English teacher, former student and actress in Jones’s program, planned a trip for Jones and her husband to New York City.

Crouse and Domack worked together to plan and fund this trip for Jones and her husband as a tribute to the impact that she had on this school and all her students.

“I think when you’ve been a teacher in one high school for thirty-some years, there’s something to be said about the longevity. It is just full-on respect you know. I think that she impacted a lot of people, and we don’t hear about it too often,” Domack said.

They wanted to make sure she was able to see some shows while she was there, so they bought her tickets for three popular productions that are currently running.

“The first night she’s there, she’ll get to see “Tina” the Tina Turner Musical, then she will see “To Kill a Mockingbird” the second night, and then the last night she’s there she has tickets to see “Hamilton,” Crouse said.

Aside from shows, they also planned a VIP boat tour around the island, but none of this would have been possible without the donations from former students, parents and colleagues.

“We finished at just 50 people, and they contributed enough to cover airfare, hotel, the three shows, the boat cruise and gave them $450 to have on gift cards that they could use to cover food and any sort of incidentals,” Crouse said.

Crouse set up a GoFund me page and shared it through a private facebook page to get the word out.

“Social media had to play a big part. I try to avoid social media as much as I can, so I had to rely on former alumni and students that had just recently graduated to get the word out,” Crouse said.

They surprised Jones with the trip at a function they held in the auditorium. Past students and friends had the chance to come to the event and pay tribute to Jones.

“People shared some really nice stories about how much their time in theater meant to them and how much Mrs. Jones meant to them. I think she was really touched by some of the stories people had and some of the generosity they showed,” Crouse said.

As one of Jones’ former students, Crouse was very moved by the outpouring of donations and the amount of people that attended and told stories at the event.

Crouse said, “I always knew that my classmates and my former students had great hearts, and it’s nice to see that I wasn’t wrong about that. The ones that could, donated and the ones who maybe couldn’t financially afford to do it tried to be there or they tried to make sure that they got a message to her, things like that, so I knew we could do it if we just tried, and it wouldn’t have to be a burden to any one person to get to do this, and I was really proud of them for taking it on and for it to be as successful as it was, meant a lot.”