Through tragedy and comedy, D’Agostino inspires students to perform

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Katy O'Connell

Fine and Performing Arts teacher Paul D’Agostino is the new teacher of drama classes at Algonquin as well as an Algonquin graduate.

Leona Sungkharom, Staff Writer

Alumnus Paul D’Agostino has returned to Algonquin as the new Drama and Public Speaking teacher in hopes to inspire students to pursue their passions and find their voices.

Formerly, D’Agostino worked at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College as the Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech for seven years. While D’Agostino was honored to teach at the Boston Conservatory, he found he wanted to be able to reach a greater audience.

“I wanted to have a wider impact and reach students who wouldn’t necessarily go on to be actors,” D’Agostino said. “I believe what you can learn in an acting class, in a drama class, can be applied to any field, and I wanted to bring those skills to a wider population.”

D’Agostino wants to teach students not only techniques for drama but also lessons about life and how to live in an honest, authentic way.

I want to teach the students how to relax, how to breathe, how to find their voices, how to be free on stage and off. I want to teach students how to be confident, how to trust what they’re feeling and to be able to express how they’re feeling. I want students to be less afraid of emotion and afraid of vulnerability.”

— Paul D'Agostino

“I want to teach the students how to relax, how to breathe, how to find their voices, how to be free on stage and off,” D’Agostino said. “I want to teach students how to be confident, how to trust what they’re feeling and to be able to express how they’re feeling. I want students to be less afraid of emotion and afraid of vulnerability.”

In his new role, D’Agostino hopes to provide students with a place where they can express themselves through drama and public speaking.

“What I would like to see more of [at Algonquin] is kids finding what they’re passionate about and bringing that energy and passion to the work they do in Drama class and into their public speaking,” D’Agostino said. 

D’Agostino teaches Public Speaking alongside social studies teacher Katie Salt, who taught him during his time as an ARHS student. Before D’Agostino joined the faculty this year, Salt taught alongside retired Drama teacher Maura Morrison. 

“It was fun to have him in class [as a student] because he was committed to everything that we did,” Salt said. “In addition to that, I also watched him under Mrs. Morrison’s direction on stage and he was exceptional. He connected emotionally with the audience.”

Salt only has positive things to say about D’Agostino and her experience working with him. She finds that having two teachers is beneficial to students as they are able to see the give-and-take she and D’Agostino have together.

“It’s so wonderful to be able to work with him,” Salt said. “And it’s kind of surreal because it’s not often that you get to work with a former student. It’s really fun being able to be in the same classroom and he challenges me to step out of my comfort.”

D’Agostino believes that theater, whether it is through comedy or tragedy, is about joy and having fun. He hopes to be able to allow students to find a place to grow and express themselves.

“No one wants to have fun in the classroom more than I do,” D’Agostino said. “I more than anything want to have fun in the room.”