The Legendary Ms. Bost to Take her Final Bow Tonight!
With tonight’s prime time performance of the 8th grade play entitled “Dress Rehearsal”, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream written by Dana Bost and Julie Yauger, the legendary Ms. Bost will take her final bow at the helm of Grymes’ Upper School English and Drama program. It’s a bittersweet moment for Bost who, while excited to have the time to pursue her passions like photography in her retirement, feels reticent to say goodbye to what has been such meaningful work at Grymes. Says Bost when asked how she feels about tonight’s performance, “I’m thrilled for tonight’s show. I’m just excited to watch the students’ hard work and see them have fun on stage.”
I was determined to push students to create monuments, real tangible accomplishments, like a 45-page writing portfolio or a film that they wrote, directed and edited frame-by-frame themselves.
For twenty-three years, Bost has been director of the Grymes Upper School English and Drama show. Her story began in 1982, when she enrolled her son Brian ‘94 in pre Kindergarten. A self-described “cheerleader mom”, Bost was an active member of the Grymes community as a parent from the get-go, organizing activities for “Fun Fridays” that included ski club, origami activities, lawn games and an improv class to expose upper school students to new skills and talents. When, in 1995, a Grymes teacher fell ill and required an extended leave after a heart surgery, then-Headmaster Bill Carringon and then-teacher Pat Barnhardt tapped Bost to step in as a long-term sub, and so began a teaching career that would span twenty-three years. “I was an unlikely teacher. I had no background or technical training in teaching, and so I’ve always felt somewhat of an imposter in this profession,” admits Bost. “I just had this drive to make kids feel good about themselves through their achievements. I was determined to push students to create monuments, real tangible accomplishments, like a 45-page writing portfolio or a film that they wrote, directed and edited frame-by-frame themselves, that they can feel proud of.”
A scene from tonight’s comedy, “Dress Rehearsal”
I always loved teaching Shakespeare to my 8th graders and giving them the opportunity to say these beautiful words.
Bost has certainly created monuments of her own during her Grymes career. She essentially created what we now know as the Upper School Drama program from the ground up. When Music teacher Jan Dalton passed the torch of the 7th and 8th grade Musical to her, drama was just an elective that some students could choose for fun at the end of the school day, and the 7th and 8th grade class play (which was actually a musical) was voluntary. It took some time for Bost to put her magic touch on the performances. “I remember I went to the library and then Barboursville theater and even Barnes & Noble to find something I thought would work for the 8th grade play. I eventually chose ‘Murder Under the Big Top’ which was fun, but we didn’t have much class time to prepare,” recounts Bost. “The 8th grade had always read Romeo & Juliet, and I found a book on teaching Shakespeare through acting at the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater. I decided to use English class to develop the drama skills needed for a real Shakespeare production.” And so began a tradition that lives on today. In fact, the Grymes Shakespeare productions became so good that Grymes performed at the Folger Shakespeare Theater Festival as the only elementary school amongst the all secondary school troupes for years — winning countless accolades that included “Best Acting” and even “Best Overall Production.” “I always loved teaching Shakespeare to my 8th graders and giving them the opportunity to say these beautiful words,” says Bost. “And then seeing them say the lines to each other down the hall as they’re passing from class to class. That’s powerful!”
From drama to creative writing and even film-making (the 7th and 8th grade Turning Point Film Festival is scheduled for next week!), Bost’s determination to challenge students to perform — and create — at their best has led to truly outstanding signature programs that have made Grymes what it is today. “For two generations of Grymes students, Dana has imparted a passion for writing, a fearlessness on stage, and an extraordinary level of self-awareness that has become one of the hallmarks of a Grymes graduate,” says Head of School, Penny Work.
And so, tonight, with her final 8th grade Shakespeare production — an adaptation that she co-wrote and that marks the beginning of a possible new direction of the Drama program with students of as young as third grade performing alongside the 8th graders — Ms. Bost will take her final bow on the stage of DuPont Hall. “Yet,” insists Bost’s successor, 7th grade English and Drama teacher Julie Yauger, “she will be no stranger to the Grymes stage in her retirement. I won’t let her go far!”
And with that, we anticipate a wonderful show for tonight’s final class play of the year. Both for tonight’s performers — and for this Grymes legend’s next Act in life — we say “break a leg!”