A glowing reminder of success is visible as soon as you walk into Science Hill theatre teacher Richard Marshall’s room.
For a little over a decade, Marshall has overseen the 10-12 grade theatre program and the Showstoppers at Science Hill High School. He is quick to tell you that the hundreds of trophies — including the over 190 trophies racked up just last year — aren’t a result of his efforts, but a reflection of his students’ hard work.
However, Marshall now has a plaque with his name hanging in his room. Marshall — who has been at the school for 12 years — was inducted into the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League Hall of Fame on Aug. 26.
“It’s an absolute humbling experience,” Marshall said. “To me, to be honored like this, for something that I absolutely love to do, it’s just the cherry on top of the sundae.”
Marshall, who also teaches Theatre 1 and Theatre 2, credited his former and current students for being able to receive such an honor.
“It’s really a testament to what the students have done and the work they have put into it,” he said. “They have to do the things to create their success.”
The trophies are evidence of the success the Showstoppers have had over the years. But Marshall stressed to his students that it isn’t about the hardware that you earn.
“I tell them all the time it isn’t about the trophies,” he said. “It’s all about building skills and learning to connect with people and building your confidence and self-esteem. So the winning is a small part of it and that is what I try to teach.
“Truly, I want these students to walk out of here with the ability to stand-up in front of people and communicate. Which is kind of a huge skill, which we don’t really teach a lot here in high school and college. To see the growth of a student that didn’t know they had it in them, that is the cool part.”
Science Hill principal Todd Barnett is thrilled that Marshall’s journey has brought him to Science Hill.
“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Marshall on our staff and we’re excited that he is being recognized for his exceptional body of work,” Barnett said. “His students and teams consistently perform at a high level, as evidenced by numerous awards earned over many years. We at Science Hill are very proud of Mr. Marshall and we know that he is most deserving of his induction into the THSSDL Hall of Fame.”
Marshall spent time teaching in Oak Ridge before returning to his alma mater Dobyns-Bennett to teach for seven years before coming to Science Hill in 1997. And while he never thought that teaching would become his career, he has loved coming to his job every day.