Whiteville High teacher makes all the world a stage for her students

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A group of Whiteville High School students are about to embark on an adventure that will have them traveling halfway around the world for a unique event, and it’s all thanks to our Teacher of the Week.

Vocal exercises and improvisation are just a couple of exercises Julia Heckathorn has her students do to refine their performance skills.

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Now in her seventh year at the school, Heckathorn is thrilled her students’ performance of “Little Shop of Horrors” has earned them a rare opportunity.

“I was looking for a way to showcase these students and their wonderful talents,” Heckathorn said. “So I started looking into how I could do that and I came across the American High School Theatre Festival which takes high school students from across America overseas in the Fringe Theatre.”

Next August, more than a dozen students will perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, billed as the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet.



“This is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the students because they are going overseas and most of them haven’t ever thought that was a possibility for them,” she said.

Heckathorn says drama has an amazing way of reaching all students, even the shy ones who may think they don’t have talent.

“We’ve been able to bring them out of their shell her in the theatre and show them that they are welcome,” Heckathorn said. “Just because it is a smaller community doesn’t mean that it is devoid of talent. What I have found is that there is a deep well of talent here in Columbus County.”

Her drive to push students to achieve their personal best got our attention. She was recently nominated for WWAY’s Teacher of the Week, sponsored by Wilmington Granite.

“I think what she does attributes to the success of the students,” said Whiteville High School Principal Michael Hobbs, “not only to her classes and the arts but also in the academic courses she provides opportunities for them to tap into that creative side.”

Click here if you would like to nominate a teacher at your school. Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card. Be as descriptive as possible about what sets your teacher apart from other teachers here in the Cape Fear.