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Sunrise Mountain principal earns recognition from Nevada Thespians for support of high school’s theater program

Sunrise Mountain High School principal John Barlow was honored last month for his extraordinary support of the school’s theater program.

Barlow was recognized as A dministrator of the Y ear by Nevada Thespians, an affiliate of the Educational Theatre Association.

"It’s true recognition of just lending natural support and caring for kids," Barlow said. "I had no idea this award even existed.

"A lot of times administrators are recognized because they fill out the application or they seek the recognition. It was truly heartfelt on behalf of the kids and the teacher to nominate me. That’s why it’s meaningful for me."

Lucia Mason is the theater teacher who quietly nominated Barlow after working with him for a year and a half at Sunrise Mountain, 2575 N. Los Feliz St.

Coming from Mason, that means a lot.

"Administrators like Mr. Barlow are one in a bazillion," she said. "I’ve been teaching for 25 years, and I’ve never nominated one before.

"I’ve never worked with an administrator who’s been more supportive of me as a teacher, my program and the value of my program to our students. I’ve never worked with an administrator who knows the names of the kids in the theater and backstage."

In her letter to Nevada Thespians, Mason wrote about some of her principal’s contributions to the theater program.

Barlow supported the creation of an original musical by theater students that was shown to the school’s freshmen and sophomores .

During a single school day, theater students performed "The Wizard of A’s" eight times. It teaches the importance of getting good grades and parallels the plot of "The Wizard of Oz."

Dorothy faints in her counselor’s office after being told she’ll have to take summer school because she doesn’t have the credits to graduate. After waking up in Dropout Land, she sets off to find the Wizard of A’s and meets the scarecrow, who’s never passed a class; the tin girl, who can’t pass her proficiency exams; and the cowardly lion, who has a phobia of germs and always skips school.

Toto, in this case named Transcript, follows Dorothy everywhere she goes.

After an encounter with the Wicked Witch of Failure, they reach the wizard, whose face is projected on the stage. The wizard, once revealed, tells them there are no magic solutions to graduate — go to school, pass your classes and take your proficiency seriously.

Barlow even played a small role. His face and voice were projected on stage as the wizard.

His four lines weren’t his first, though.

Barlow was active in theater as a student at Boulder City High School, where he played "Hawkeye" Pierce in "M*A*S*H." He also performed in college at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and BYU in Provo, Utah.

Barlow arranged for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s touring company to give two performances of "Macbeth" at the school this year.

He also accompanied students on a trip to Southern Utah University in Cedar City to watch a live show and tour the campus.

"It gets kids who’ve never been out of Las Vegas on a bus and to a beautiful campus," Barlow said. "If I can get them on a campus to see how beautiful college can be, plus have a theater component and some good meals, they’re going to remember that for the rest of their lives.

"They’re going to say, ‘I’d like to go back there.’ It might not be that college, but it’s representative of a desire to attend college."

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at jmosier@viewnews.com or 224-5524.

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