Edwards teacher going in style | VailDaily.com

Edwards teacher going in style

HL Camelot 2 KA 4-4-11

Suzanne Foster is one of the world’s most demanding, loving, determined and loveable taskmasters.

Foster has been teaching at Battle Mountain High School and winning so many state championships that it’s fair to call it a speech and debate school. Everyone else is just trying to keep up.

She and the Battle Mountain High School Players are presenting her last play, “Camelot,” through Sunday.

Foster’s retiring, but the plays will go on, and like Shakespeare says, the play’s the thing.

“The freshmen coming up don’t know what they’re missing,” said Raleigh Addington, “Camelot” cast member. “She’s quite a task master, but a great teacher and committed to everything she does. She enjoys what she does and we enjoy being with her.”

Foster fussed a little when students were asked to say something nice about her, but they did it anyway. More than one said she was like a second mother.

“She cares so deeply and she has worked so hard,” said Susanna DeChant, a senior playing Lady Guinevere this week.

Jillian Kiss has been with Foster in some form or fashion since she was old enough to see over the footlights.

“Have known her since I was 6 years old. She directed the first play,” Kiss said. “She’s like a second mother to me, always keeping me under her wing and taking care of me.”

Battle Mountain graduate Bryn Abbott is one of Foster’s former students/actors/debaters making it in the big, wide world. She’s in Hollywood working as an actor and comedian.

Lots of people say they’re actors; Abbott really is. She makes her prime time television debut next week on CBS’ “Criminal Minds.”

She started the same way this week’s “Camelot” cast started, taking advantage of all the acting opportunities in Vail, participating on Foster’s speech and debate team and the twice-yearly school plays at Battle Mountain.

You can get there from here, Abbott says, but not without someone like Foster to show you the way.

“We were so lucky to have Ms. Foster, who really provided an abundance of opportunity for such a small town,” Abbott said. “I know she is leaving the high school this year, and, while they are big shoes to fill, I hope for other kids like me, someone takes on the challenge.”

Jake Dutmer won two state speech titles and is headed to the nationals because, he says, Foster taught him and didn’t let up until he learned.

“Ms. Foster is terrific,” Dutmer said. “She says she likes to think of herself as that fine line between giving too much direction and not enough. She’s perfect.”

“Ms. Foster is amazing,” Charlie Barry said. “She gets stuff done. She can be rough sometimes, but she does it in a wonderful way.”

You can barely get Foster to talk about herself at knifepoint, but her travel schedule says it all.

She took Battle Mountain’s speech and debate team to a national qualifying tournament last weekend. Four kids made June’s national finals.

The weekend before that she was in Nashville for a national swing choir competition.

This weekend it’s “Camelot” and the 50 people in its cast and crew.

“Ms. Foster keeps us in line and she does it in the sweetest way she can,” Thornton said. “We all love her to death like a second mom. We wouldn’t be anywhere without her.”

Great teachers can change lives, Abbot said.

“You have changed my life and I am forever grateful for all your incredibly hard work and your genuine passion,” she said to Foster.

And to whoever takes her place at Battle Mountain, Abbot says, “You have some seriously big shoes to fill. And they are more important than you know.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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