Sharing a stage

Dear Editor:

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself making a very important payment. I sat in front of my computer and pushed the “submit” button on my final payment of student loans.

There I was — less than a year out of college, gainfully employed, debt-free, and absolutely no idea how I had gotten there. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure.

One thing I do know, however, is that it would not have been possible without the love and support of my Pagosa family. The old saying “It takes a town to raise a child” certainly rings true in my life. It wasn’t until I left Pagosa to go to college at CU Boulder that I realized how much this place has made me who I am today. Now, after five years of college earning degrees in English, Theater, and Secondary Education, I am working as a first year English teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School in the Denver Public School District.

(Just as a quick side note to Mrs. Capistrant, Mrs. Esterbrook, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Maberry, and Mr. Downing — my high school English teachers — thank you! I get it now, and I don’t know how you ever put up with all of us.)

Teaching is hard. Life is hard. Paying bills and putting food on the table is hard. These are things that they tell you when you’re in college, but you really can’t understand until you’re in “the real world.” I understand now. I especially understand that I would not have made it where I am today without the help and support of scholarships and financial assistance from my hometown. One particular group that has supported me in life-changing ways is Curtains Up Pagosa (CUP), formerly Music Boosters. I have been working with them for over 10 years, and the people have supported me in ways that I will never be able to thank them for.

On a financial level, being selected as a scholarship recipient when I graduated high school was both an honor and a blessing. But, CUP also gave me the support to study and explore my talents and passions in theater and the arts. This is a debt that I will never be able to pay back. However, I will try, and I am starting with sponsoring the Lincoln Players Drama Club at my high school. We are a small group, but the students are excited and willing to learn. I can only hope that I will be able to give to them a part of what CUP gave to me over the years.

So, to Dale Johnson, Sally Neel, Jay Davidson and Darcy DeGuise, who are running the show, I just want to say “Thank You!” for all you have done for me and all you continue to do for our little town. And, to so many other wonderful people that I have met and worked with for many years through Music Boosters and CUP, I love you all. Thank you for letting me grow up beside you and share a stage with you. I would not be where I am today without you.

Becca Stephens

This story was posted on January 23, 2014.