Mrs. Susan Quinton
Once upon a time, an immigrant from the wilds of Winterpeg, where she taught English and drama for 26 years, Susan Quinton arrived on campus in 2003 - pixie faced and bubbly - ready to pick up the torch in acting from Keith Digby, the retiring Director of Arts.
The first chuckle I heard from Susan came as the result of a mistake. She had understood the name of the theatre to be the Gil T. Bunch not the T. Gil Bunch and she came into the office hailing the creative team - greeting us all heartily as the guilty bunch - a name she found most appropriate. Not daunted, she laughed at her own error and the play began.
14 years later: that is: 13 plays with the acting class and 11 mainstage shows with the senior company - she is ready to retire with her husband Jeff to the wilds of Cobble Hill. Susan has put on many hats on this journey: SAC sponsor, tennis coach, English teacher, drama teacher and director - all worn with the same enthusiasm and distinctive chuckle.
I shared an office with Mr. Quinton for many of those years ands was the recipient of many of her quips, comments, sighs and chuckles that emanated from her desk, particularly, when marking English compositions: one year for the final exams, Sue marked all the Grade 11 compositions on the prompt, "a memorable day," and tons of kids wrote about they dying grandmother, so Sue asked for the prompt to be changed so next year the marking wasn't so depressing.
Mr. Collis changed the prompt to "Surprise" next year, and Sue marked compositions again. Student after student wrote, "I never was as surprised as I was on the day my grandmother died..."
Mrs. Quinton adores tennis: along with Mrs. Felix, she coached the recreation tennis players for many years under Franco and then with Mrs. McLean. She always showed patience with good humour working with 'the beach club' tennis players . She and Mrs. Felix did some trips together including Peru. Susan was always ready to take on a challenge whether hiking trails at full tilt in Machu Picchu by day and then getting students to run through their lines for the school play by night. Mrs. Felix was not sure who had more energy.
It is in the drama class and on stage that Susan fulfilled her true teaching passions. Nurturing and cajoling students to performance level involve hours and hours of time and patience and playfulness. Student after student expressed to me that they wanted to thank her for her hard work and particularly the cast of her final show: Picasso at the Lapin Agile hoped that they made her proud in her last production at Brentwood. One student expressed it this way: “Thank you so much for all the magic you created with this play and letting me be a part of it. I will treasure all my memories of working with you and this amazing cast as some of the funniest times in my senior year. Thanks for always being so funny, easy-going, inspiring and even sassy. I wish we could do it over again.”
On her Facebook page she said she was was feeling blissful in announcing her retirement. She states she has had a fabulous 42 years with the most brilliant colleagues and students. Everyone she worked with inspired her to be a better teacher. She will miss the work but look forward to the play.
And there will be much more play in her retirement and lots to chuckle about:
tennis, theatre attendance, tennis and hopefully several Brentwood events that will become fixed engagements on her calendar: the annual Jane Austen tea party that he attended for the first time this week being one.
We wish her much joy and that she and her husband Jeff will enjoy their playtime together - two bon vivants with family and friends in the Cowichan Valley.
Mrs. Edna Widenmaier, Director or Arts