Name: Robbin DeMeester
Role: Teacher, Theatre Department Head, and Leader of United Prayer Club
1. Has anything happened, or will anything happen to make up for the missed musical?
“Unfortunately, nothing will move forward with the musical. It’s been devastating for the cast/crew and the adult production team.”
2. What is going to happen to the improv team?
“I’m hoping to have Tony Night as well as Improv auditions sometime this summer.”
3. How are you keeping your students engaged and motivated?
“I’m doing videos on [my] YouTube channel D’s Nest. I film lessons one week ahead and have my producer/editor/camerawoman (Kaila Kotas 2016) edit them for the next week’s classes. I have used Barbies to teach and just finished D’s Nest Puppet Theatre for To Kill a Mockingbird chapter review. My goal is to entertain and encourage learning.”
4. Will you be prepared for next year’s productions?
“I’ll be prepared for whatever is to transpire next year for FHC Theatre. I’m the epitome of preparedness; it’s a legit compulsion. I’m in therapy for it, but I’m probably wasting dollars on that topic. Shows have been chosen for next year, but we are waiting to announce [them] until Tony Night.”
5. How are you staying positive during the quarantine?
“I’m enjoying this season. I’m in the process of writing a children’s book using my son’s characters he has drawn for his coffee company. He’s illustrating, of course. I’m watching my grandson twice a week and loving that. I’m digging deep in my walk with God, staying open to what He has for my life’s next steps, and [I’m] excited to see the changes in others through this pandemic. I’m walking [and] hiking a lot and spending a lot of time reading. I love Springtime even in Michigan with the rain, so I’m enjoying watching the change of season. I miss my students, but, as an introverted extrovert, I am okay not having to socialize a ton.”
6. How hard has the switch to online teaching been for you?
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge of online teaching. It’s forced me to think more creatively and put myself out there more. My work would be nothing without my editor/producer. She makes everything I do on film look more legit. She even forced a TikTok out of me. It’s a disaster. FHC United Prayer has had a Zoom session that was wonderful. We all connected and encouraged each other. Zoom has been an unbelievable resource. [I’m] super grateful.”
7. How do you feel about the unknown ahead?
“I’m hoping our State gives more autonomy to citizens to utilize our own discretion in going back to work, traveling to our cottages or other states, [and] visiting family. We can’t stay secluded forever; it’s not sustainable economically or emotionally. My son put his life and soul and money into his small business. He needs to be able to get it back up and running sooner [rather] than later. But honestly, as a family we try not to worry too much about our future. We know God has our lives under His control. Whatever changes He has planned for me and my family, we are open to them.”
8. What changes have you had to make to your curriculums?
“I’ve paired down lessons quite a bit. I am doing a fun Virtual Audition project for theatre students that I’m excited to see where they take it. I had Theatre 1 students record and send in a dance move, and Kaila is creating a class “TikTok video” of sorts by combining everyone’s move. [That] should be funny. I added Membean vocab for freshman English  that is kicking my own vocab butt, so that’s been good. I’m hoping [that] through acting out portions of TKAM as well as reading it aloud to the 9th-grade students, I might spark a love for that great American novel. Basically, [I’m] just trying to keep them engaged and growing as a learner while having fun.”