(Editor's Note: Katelyn Borsos is a senior at South Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto South Plainfield.)
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield High School (SPHS) English teacher Christina Briskin is eagerly preparing for Legally Blonde. The 2017 musical is Briskin’s seventh production since taking on the role of director of the school’s drama department nearly eight years ago.
Briskin grew up in Bridgewater and had a love for reading and the theater at a young age. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in both English and history from Rutgers University and began her teaching career in her hometown as a long-term substitute. Briskin’s first full-time position was for the Bound Brook School District in 2005 and, three years later, she secured a position in South Plainfield.
Briskin said she loves how the staff members in SPHS are like a family and credits SPHS Assistant Principal Kelly Richkus for helping her see things from a different perspective, challenging her, and always pushing her to be better. She also credits several of her former colleagues at Bridgewater Raritan High School, including fellow English teachers Paula Mittleman, Barbara Lane, and Dave Matonis, for peaking her interest in reading and literature.
Briskin said she loves everything pertaining to theater – from the grandness of set building and costumes design to the different ways in which people portray characters. Theater, she said, has helped to make her a better English teacher.
According to Briskin, Legally Blonde was chosen over seven other show options because of the significance of its overall message, which is to believe in one’s self. Helping students see their own worth, she said, is both one of the hardest and most rewarding parts of her job.
“It is a concept easy to understand but often hard to believe,” said Briskin, adding that interacting and learning with students, are some of her favorite things about teaching while disciplining students are some of her least favorite.
Briskin advises students who aspire to be teachers to ‘live for the soul-filling moments’ and to ‘be ready for moments that fill your soul and moments that break your heart.’ For those interested in pursuing their love for theater, Briskin’s advice is to ‘go for it.’ “You have a gift and a story to tell,” she said. “It’s your duty to do so,” she said.
Auditions for Legally Blonde were held back in November and December with rehearsals currently underway every day afterschool from 3 to 5 p.m. Performances will take place Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 9 at 2 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Tickets, which are $8 for students and $10 for teachers, can be purchased at the door. The money from ticket sales will help fund the school's 2018 production.
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