Chase Waites, from Ft. Worth, Texas, has been acting, directing, and teaching since the seventh grade. With over 20 years of experience, he has taught from third grade to the college level. Chase graduated high school from Cairo American College in Cairo, Egypt, has his BA in Theatre and Teacher Certification from Centenary College of Louisiana and his MFA in Directing from the University of New Orleans.
No Risk, No Reward: Failing Gloriously
When that unbridled mass of energy walks into my teaching arena, and the smell of anticipation is in the air, the most wondrous possibilities exist. When that jaded, know-it-all ambles into the classroom, ready to espouse all on the great wonders of the world, the world of impossible chance grows. Students are amazing. Some will let you know it and others do not have an inkling. It is my job to open these doors, unleash these powers, and focus these energies. Students need to know that failure is always an option, encouraged even. For it is through glorious failure, through calculated risks, that the greatest rewards can be reaped. Successful teaching is like following a treasure map. I look for markers that point the way to revealing the potential in the student. The student will indicate how s/he needs to be taught and how s/he learns best. I observe and listen. Students are similar; students are vastly different. And each one of them has the capability to succeed. Through coaxing, coaching, and taking what the student offers me, I lead them towards growth. Along that path, I encourage risk taking that can lead to great success. I gently guide the student towards self-discovery, turning within to see what lies beneath the surface. I believe in practical application to put the learning goal within a tangible concept that the student can grasp. Then leading and prodding the student towards the imaginable and creative. It is as this point the students push the comfort barriers they have worked so hard to build. It is at this point the stakes are raised and the excitement takes over. When the students accept the impossible as plausible, the magic happens. When risks are recognized as paths to rewards, when glorious failure is an option worth exploring, the student is on a limitless journey towards exciting success.
The Kennedy Center Medallion
Chase was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Medallion in 2018 for KCACTF Region 6. Each year, the eight KCACTF regions honor individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the development of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Most importantly, recipients have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre. It is the most prestigious regional award given by KCACTF and is considered one of the great honors in theatre education.