The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

Mrs. Barrow Becomes the Limelight as She Qualifies for “Teacher of the Year”

A former Cavalier with a childhood passion for theater, Mrs. Barrow takes a bow as she is competent for the accomplishing title
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Gianna Figueroa
Never expecting to come back to her roots, Mrs. Barrow bands together with her students. Sharing a common interest, her students show their appreciation for show biz.

At the heart of creativity is the rhythm of stage storytelling in room 4126. With students brainstorming their scripts and rehearsals for upcoming performances, a contagious energy that embodies the essence of dramatic arts features the spotlight on her students. Providing a symphony of talent toward theatrics, Mrs. Barrow’s hard-earned efforts have awarded her a spot as a finalist for “Teacher of the Year,” in an achievement of celebration.

The highly distinguished Teacher of the Year award was nominated by a tight-knit committee of Gables’ colleagues. As nominations progress, the faculty gets to vote on who they think qualified. Making it past all rounds of nominations, Mrs. Barrow soon cruised, representing the central region office.

Reflecting on her time as a generational Cavalier, Mrs. Barrows’s father was involved in theater. Serving as an inspiration, her father offered her the opportunity to make her debut in the Actors Community Theatre. Taking a step into the unknown, a young Mrs. Barrow willingly accepted and never looked back.

“I loved it [theater]. I’ve loved it since I was 5-years-old which was when I starred in my first play, ‘South Pacific‘ and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s my passion,” Mrs. Barrow said.

Mr. Cohen explains to Mrs. Barrow (middle) and her friend how to prepare for their upcoming competition performance. (Courtesy of Cavaleon)

Set in following her father’s footsteps, Mrs. Barrow involved herself in many other plays. In middle school, she directed shows and worked backstage, running the sound and lighting while also continuing to perform plays such as “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Wait Until Dark.” Putting in the maximum effort as she entered into Gables’ theatrics, Mrs. Barrow went to competitions for thespian conferences, winning superior and excellence awards for duet and ensemble acting along the way.

After finishing her initial Cavalier experience in 1984, Mrs. Barrow packed her bags and headed over to the University of Miami to study acting, while later transferring to Florida State University under the same major. Stepping into the real world, she started to turn frowns by entertaining with puns in comedy troupes.

Slowly gaining success all over the U.S. from acting at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, winning playwriting festivals in New York and singing the national anthem at a Miami Heat game in 1992, Mrs. Barrow has immersed herself in the world of theater in all aspects.

“Around the early ’90s through one of the comedy troupes I was in, we [comedy troupe] met someone who asked me if I would like to sing the national anthem at a Miami Heat game and I said, ‘Sure why not?’ I warmed up my voice by taking deep breaths and practicing some vocal exercises before heading out. It was a super cool experience and I would do it again,” Mrs. Barrow said.

Having her mind set on pursuing theater through enacting famous pieces, Mrs. Barrow decided it was time to close the curtains and start a new “Act” in her life. Reaching her 30s, she came to the ultimate conclusion of wanting to get married and start a family. Instead of chasing after acting gigs, Mrs. Barrow was leaving resumes at nearby schools, to which Gables called her. In hopes of finding a practical lifestyle, she was interviewed for the theater teacher position and hired in 2003.

All of my moments at Gables are memorable and I cherish them. Whether old or new, they all hold a special place in my heart. My students always manage to surprise me in some shape, way or form. I am truly dedicated to them, my job and committed to the theater,

— Mrs. Barrow

Teaching for the past 20 years, Mrs. Barrow teaches all levels of theater proficiencies while developing her style of trial and error. Making it her priority to present theater as most engaging as she can, by letting her students perform with others and then gradually getting them on their own, she helps embrace performing arts. Additionally taking on the role of Fine Arts Department Chair, she maintains a close relationship between the department and Gables’ administration.

“Mrs. Barrow creates a safe space with her class and the clubs she leads. I always knew I liked theater but having her as a teacher really motivated me to pursue that. She’s more than a teacher, she also feels like a friend and she’s helped me grow as an actor” sophomore Natalia Pacheco said.

Mrs. Barrow (second on the bottom row) poses as Vice President alongside her theater teacher, Mr. Cohen, and classmates. (Courtesy of Cavaleon)

Expanding her involvement, Mrs. Barrow takes the time to oversee two clubs: Gables Players and the Gender-Sexuality Alliance Club, Paradigm. Juggling around responsibility and taking students in, she provides a safe space for them to be themselves, forming new bonds and deeper connections through subjects she holds near to her heart.

“I have always loved and felt very close to the LGBTQ+ community, and especially now that they are coming under fire more than ever, I feel I need to be there for them,” Mrs. Barrow said.

Producing her recent podcast with the Lost Girls Theater called “Where or When,” Mrs. Barrow is devoted to what she does. From humble theater beginnings to making her name known in the theater industry and returning to her alma mater, her constant efforts towards her job both in and outside the classroom have earned her distinction.

About the Contributor
Gianna Figueroa, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gianna Figueroa is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Gables and this is her first year writing for CavsConnect. Looking for more ways to be involved at Gables, she saw CavsConnect as the perfect opportunity to do so, an opportunity to improve her writing skills. Hoping to meet new faces, engage herself in additional extracurriculars, attend more school events and create memories that will last a lifetime, she is looking forward to working for CavsConnect with the rest of the team. All of this while staying on top of her school work and managing her four Advanced Placement classes. She has a deep passion for art from a young age. Drawing, sketching and painting have been her creative outlet and have helped her all her life.  She aspires to pursue something in the arts and to have a job that will make her truly happy. In her free time, you can find her drawing, reading or spending time with her loved ones.
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