Morrison retires, leaves lasting impact on Algonquin community


Priya Maraliga

Fine and Performing Arts teacher Maura Morrison, who directed the shows and musicals at Algonquin, is retiring after 34 years in the department.

Jessie Lambert, Managing Editor

Fine and Performing Arts teacher Maura Morrison is set to retire after 34 years of teaching drama classes, directing shows and inspiring students. 

Morrison originally began teaching in the English department while also developing drama classes, as she was hired due to her interest in theater. 

Along with teaching Drama and Public Speaking, Morrison has directed in some form every year she has been at Algonquin. 

“The spring improv show is one [out of all productions] that I find the most fulfilling,” Morrison said. “It’s the one I feel the most creative with, in terms of working with students; it’s typically a smaller group [than other productions], so I am very involved in writing sketches and directing. It’s what I feel represents the theater best, which is creating with other people.” 

Through both teaching and directing, Morrison has had a significant impact on her students.

“Ms. Morrison has broken my shell,” junior Juan Benatuil said. “When I entered high school, I was all over the place when I rehearsed, so she turned that mess into an opportunity and just made me so much more comfortable.”

“Ms. Morrison has impacted me in so many ways,” junior Max Hanna said. “She has taught me how to be a really good actor and given me many tips that I will implement into other aspects of my life, not just drama and theater.” 

“All I can say is I don’t think there is anyone who connects with students the way she does,” social studies teacher Kathleen Salt said. “Students say every single year that their best memories are in the black box and that is because of Maura Morrison.”

Due to her longevity as a teacher at Algonquin, Morrison was also able to grow close with her colleagues. 

“Ms. Morrison has been my mentor for 27 years,” Salt said. “I started here in 1994 and began co-teaching with her in a class called Freshman Sequence, which is an English and history course combined. Most first-year teachers are in the classroom by themselves, but I had the privilege and opportunity to be with Ms. Morrison.” 

Aside from teaching, World Languages teacher Karla Steele admires the creativity that Morrison puts into all of her shows. 

“I have known Maura for 22 years, so she’s not just a colleague but a really good friend,” Steele said. “I’ve always admired her hard work, determination and creativity when it came to putting on her plays and improv. Some of the ideas she has are so creative, and I know I could never think of them.” 

In retirement, Morrison plans to take a gap year while living in Martha’s Vineyard. 

“Instead of trying to control my next step, I am looking forward to improvising what I will end up doing next,” Morrison said. “So, I don’t have a position I am going to from Algonquin and honestly, I am pretty excited about that.” 

In true Morrison fashion, interviewees were asked to give Morrison a lighthearted roast. 

“It’s not a Ms. Morrison show if there is no sense of being unprepared the week before,” Benatuil said. 

“I would always pick on Maura for her age because every morning, we would run together and whenever she would get tired or out of breath, I’d blame it on her age,” Steele said. “She is not even that much older than I am, but now it’s ironic because I am envious of her retiring; I wish I was her age.” 

Applied Arts and Technology teacher Nicole Ruffo states that Morrison’s legacy as a teacher and director will never be forgotten.

“Morrison sits on a throne of legends of teachers who have gone through Algonquin and made lasting impressions in the community,” Ruffo said. “Ms. Morrison and her courses are the only reasons some students wake up and come to school. She created a safe space for her students to be themselves and thrive in a land of comedy, tragedy and drama.”