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Christina Moroney brings 14 years of theater, education experience to drama department

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Christina Moroney took over as Sandy High drama teacher this fall after Colin Murray's departure from the program. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and teachers into distance learning classrooms last year, Christina Moroney eagerly awaited the day she'd teach theater in person with kids again. Coincidentally, Moroney is now back in a theater preparing a student production for this winter, just not the same theater she left in 2020.

Moroney, 39, is Sandy High's newest drama teacher and she started instructing young Sandy actors this fall.

While the place and faces are new, Moroney said she is happy to be back working in-person with kids .

"I think the thing I missed the most (during distance learning) is having real relationships with students in person," Moroney explained.

Moroney came to Sandy from Roseburg after a year of getting creative with virtual performances and rehearsals. She's hoping to be able to safely open the department's first show of the year to a live audience but has a few acquired tricks up her sleeve if they should have to give a web-based performance.

Moroney has taught for 14 years, having obtained her bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Oregon and her master's degree in teaching from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

"I fell in love with theater in my first drama class (my freshman year of high school)," Moroney said. "Getting to see how that impacted me, I wanted to give that to other people."

Moroney added that she considered teaching various grade levels, but that "high school is the age group where I can really teach the things that I think are important to teach."

While her classes are big picture about teaching kids to be good thespians, Moroney said she appreciates how theater can create a "safe space" for students to learn life skills like communication, problem solving and how to take risks.

"Getting to watch the kids grow as people (is so rewarding)," Moroney explained. "In my classes, they learn theater content and how to be better actors and all of that, but really there's a focus on soft skills hidden in theater. Getting to see them figure these things out and take responsibility for their own lives and really gain that autonomy is very rewarding."

That said, Moroney explained that teaching theater comes with its challenges. Like many teachers, Moroney said she struggles with "trying to find an in with kids who don't want to be there."

So far, Moroney said her experience at Sandy High has been a positive one.

"Everyone has been really nice," she explained. "I'm excited to be able to do what I love with people who are excited to help."

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