The verdict is in. Templeton drama teacher Jim Crescenzo has had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of countless students while simultaneously influencing the careers of a wide-range of VSB teachers and district drama programs.
A variety of former pupils and now teachers across the district say it isn't hard to imagine why Crescenzo has had such an impact on theatre in the VSB. To start, the signature style of one of Templeton's many beloved teachers is hard to miss.
"He always entered a room in grandiose style, and this isn't just in reference to his extremely charismatic personality, it is literally in reference to his style. Whether it was his baggy sweats, a snap back and puffy coat looking like one of the kids, or his dapper, pinstripe 3 piece suits looking like he rolled right out of Saturday Night Fever, Jimmy made an entrance," said Windermere teacher (and former Templeton student teacher) Alyssa Reid. "Immediately, he took me under his wing and brought me into the Theatre Temp family."
Since starting his teaching career over 25 years ago, many of his former students have credited him for helping them shape their own drama programs with the inspirational knowledge "that anything you wish to do you can achieve."
"I wouldn't be a teacher if it wasn't for Jim. He has been my mentor for the past 25 years. He was my teacher in Grade 11 and 12, my sponsor teacher when I came back to do my practicum at Templeton and has been the person I have modeled my career around," said Killarney Counseling Department Head Oscar Goncalves. "I modeled my first Theatre program at Gladstone around his, setting high expectations, having a strong structure, caring, being real, mutual respect, hard work, never giving up, sense of community, being authentic and believing in kids when others have given up."
Gladstone's drama program wasn't the only one to benefit from Crescenzo's Theatre Temp style. Massimo Rocchetta, a current drama teacher from Killarney, says he used Crescenzo's "bag of tricks" to develop his own theatre and film program.
"We strive to give students opportunities and provide a family environment that sees over 120 students dedicate their time after school and over 600 students enrolled in our program," says Rocchetta. "I give credit to Jim for teaching me to love my job, love my students, my community and to love the arts."
Photo courtesy of burnabynow.com. To read the Burnaby Now's story about Jim Crescenzo, click here.