St. Dominic theater program is currently in full swing as they prepare for the opening weekend of Anastasia. Despite all the excitement, there is also something bittersweet about this show. Mrs. Findley announced that next year she will not be returning to St. Dominic as director of the theater program. After nine years of bringing shows to the stage here at St. Dominic, she will be leaving to move onto the next chapter in her life.
Mrs. Findley has participated in theater since she was four years old. She grew up knowing it would be an important part of her life as she grew up. When she got to college, she went into travel and tourism before unexpectedly being put out of commission for six months. When she got back on her feet, she went back to school for theater as well as teaching, paving the way for her next path in life. For the past 26 years, she has been teaching students anything and everything theater-related.
In those many years of teaching, Mrs. Findley influenced so many students and changed the theater program for the better. Before she came to St. Dominic, the program she was previously at, hired separate people for the technology and choreography and could only do one big musical number per show. That all changed after Mrs. Findley came to St. Dominic. She started doing all of the technology herself and choreographing big numbers one after another for the musicals.
The program itself was not the only thing that changed. Students from freshmen to alumni have been touched by the dedication Mrs. Findley poured into the theater program.
“Mrs. Finley has given me so many opportunities, and she’s helped me grow so much. I would not be where I am without her, and she’s really just helped me blossom into the performer that I am today,” junior Gia Danhoff said.
Even those who no longer attend St. Dominic are surprised to know that there will be a new director filling Mrs. Findley’s shoes. Her work in the theater community extends beyond high school and continues to impact students after graduation. Her program and all she taught them will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
“Mrs. Findley and the program gave me space to grow into who I am today. I walked into St. Dominic theatre as a little girl who had done a few community shows and was interested in singing, but walked out as a young woman with a heart on fire for storytelling in the theatre. I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life on that St. Dominic stage,” St. Dominic class of ‘21 alumni, Elizabeth Petruso said.
Not only has Mrs. Findley impacted her students’ lives, but they have changed her life as well. While she is sad to leave behind the students she has grown close to, she is ready to take on the new adventure life will bring.
“It was hard to leave the kids that I’ve gotten close to because many students here I’ve been working with since they were in second grade, and now they’re sophomores and freshmen. That’s one of the hardest things, but I just know that it’s the right time. So I’m going to take it while I can,” Mrs. Findley said.
Mrs. Findley is moving to Florida where she plans to retire. She has high hopes for whoever takes on her position and is sure they will keep the St. Dominic theater program as strong as it is now. She has helped our program climb to the top of high school theater in St. Louis, and although she will no longer be here, she hopes her legacy will live on.
“Mr. Welby told me that I’d kind of built a legacy here in just nine years, and I hope that that continues on. We’ve been nominated for St. Louis High School Musical Theater awards twice, and I hope that that can continue, especially for my underclassmen,” Mrs. Findley said.
St. Dominic and their students are forever grateful for everything Mrs. Findley has done for the theater program. She has helped so many students and the overall growth and expansion of the program. She has turned the St. Dominic theater program into a memorable and exciting experience. Mrs. Findley will be missed here at St. Dominic, but we wish her the best of luck as she continues her journey through life!
- Zoe Dake '24, Crusader Nations News Staff Writer