That's the Spirit: Theatre Alumna Forms Connections that Transcend the Stage

February 5, 2024

Lancers like 2023 alumna Rachel Flynn have a lot of spirit. Her wide range of interests led her to triple major in biology, secondary education, and performing arts.

"By the end of the [first] semester, I decided, 'Let's do everything,'" she said. "Throughout my day, I would go from learning about the inside of a cell to painting a set piece to learning how to handle students and grade papers."

Now a science and drama teacher and technical director for the theatre program at Canton High School, located a half hour from Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Rachel knows she's in the right place. "I like helping people figure out how to do things, and seeing that spark in someone's eye when they understand or are curious about something makes me feel like what I'm doing is worth it."

Even as a student teacher, Rachel was comfortable in front of a classroom—something she credits to her performing arts degree. "Theatre is all about connection," she said. "And a big part of being a good teacher is connecting with your students."

That same concept isn't lost on the faculty and staff at Mount Marty; when Rachel stage-managed the Canton Middle School's production of "Frozen JR," Mount Marty Theatre Director, Andy Henrickson, was in the crowd.

"Being able to support Rachel in her first official production after graduation was fantastic," said Henrickson. "The director and her husband had nothing but great things to say about the impact Rachel had on the production, making me very proud of our program, as the years she spent with us fully prepared her to find immediate success out in the real world." 

Rachel's career continues to provide opportunities to live out her Benedictine education. On Wednesdays, she and her colleagues host "Soup Group," a potluck to build community and share about their lives. And once back in the classroom, it's those same values that allow Rachel to see her students from a different perspective.

"[The Mount Marty community] is so connected to their faith, and it taught me to be more connected to my faith and reflect that in my teaching," she said. "I recognize that there's something of value in each of my students...and that God resides in them."

For Rachel, stepping into the Canton community has brought a familiar sense of fellowship. "I liked that I would be in a place where I could do many different things," she said of choosing Mount Marty for college. Once again, she's picked just the right place.