Image On Wednesday morning, I was happily checking my Facebook page when a posting by an old high school friend caught my eye. "just heard that Bishop High School Drama Coach, Joe Trevino passed away..." My breath caught, and I thought: "No! Not Mr. T!!!"

http://obits.caller.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewobit&ID=68820

I first met Joe at the beginning of my senior year, 1981. I was miserable. I was the "new kid" as we had only moved to Bishop at the end of the school year. I didn't have a lot of friends and didn't really like the school. I certainly wasn't going to be in any clubs or do extracurricular activities. But I met Mr. T and signed up for his class, changing my entire schedule, simply because he was young and I had an immediate crush on him!

I guess he saw something in me. Because he encouraged me, not only to do well in his class, but also in my other classes. I skipped alot of 4th and 5th period that year... but I never once missed Mr. T's 6th period drama class. He eventually got me to stop skipping any class.

Mr. T was fun, but he was no pushover. He made us work to bring out our potential. He had no problem letting us know if he thought we weren't giving it our best.

Under his coaching, that year, the Speech/Drama team earned many trophies and ribbons at speech tournaments. We also advanced pretty far with our one-act play "The Boyfriend", in which yours truly had a leading role! Prior to landing that role, I talked to him about dropping out of school. I was ready to give up... but he talked me into auditioning -- I now wonder if he gave me that role to keep me going....

On my 18th birthday, we attended a tournament at Carroll High School in Corpus Christi. My friend Donna Barnett and I wanted to walk across the street to a Chinese Resturant and had invited Mr. T to join us. (Did I mention I had a crush on him?) Initially, he told us he didn't know if he could but to go on ahead. We did, and since I had turned 18 and was "legal", I proceeded to order a Pina Colada... the waitress delivered it about the time Mr. T decided to join us...BUSTED!!! He told the waitress to remove it an proceeded to lecture me about stupidity and jepordizing the entire team... I didn't know if he was going to let it get back to the school officals or worse -- my parents. The rest of the tournament, I spent feeling so ashamed of myself. He never mentioned it again until after graduation. We laughed about it, and when I was in college, was actually invited to his house for a "real" cast party after co-starring with Joe in "Blithe Spirit" at Texas A&I in Kingsville.

I kept in touch with him for a while, but you know how it is... and I regret that.

In reading his Obit in the CC Caller Times yesterday, I realize how lucky I was to have had him as a teacher and a friend! And I am not alone... He touched the lives of so many other kids... And taught us all so much not about acting or speech or debate... but about LIFE!

Goodbye Mr. T! Thanks for believing in me and giving me that push to learn to like myself!