Farewell Ms. Gorski!

Ms. Cindy Gorski, described by her students as “very dedicated”, “enthusiastic” and “caring” , has been the drama teacher and a musical director at PCS for 23 years, and announced her retirement after the 2021-2022 school year. Kayla Liu, who has been Ms. Gorski’s student since 2017,will miss most about Ms. Gorski, “her smile, her energy, her classroom. Since Drama 1 it’s been a very non-judgemental place…literally a break from everything else.”

Ms. Gorski came to PCS when it was founded in 1999.  She said that she chose to join PCS because, as one of the founding teachers, “I got to start this [drama] program and really create what I wanted it to be.” Her first impressions of the school “were that it was a really inventive, creative, collaborative workplace.” Ms. Gorski believes PCS is a place where “everybody that was there was interested in making this unique school for not only academic kids, but kids who were also into the arts… just a growing place that was constantly kind of re-inventing itself to continue to meet the needs of the kids.”

The first production she did with PCS was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, performed at Peace United Church. With the Cavelos parents making costumes, and another parent who had worked with the Grateful Dead bringing trusses for the lighting, she described it as being “like a rock show… the orchestra sat in the choir loft in the back and played, and it was a really fun show.”

Over the last 23 years of teaching at PCS, Ms. Gorski has done countless productions. She said, “I’ve loved doing all of them… the ones that for me that were the most challenging and also powerful were Les Miserables, West Side Story, and Spring Awakening… it was fun for me to stage them and help the kids find the dramatic parts of it that really moved the audience… I always feel really great when an audience feels emotionally moved by something so powerful.” 

Some of her favorite parts of being a part of the PCS community are her “colleagues, and also my ability to be creative. And seeing the students grow”.

Her student, Ava Livingstone, describes Ms. Gorski as, “comfortable…  like a mother… she just gets you a lot.” Another student, RJ Medhekar, says, “she’s definitely really caring… and she’s so passionate about it.” Kayla Liu adds, “the amount of things that Ms. Gorski does within the drama department is insane…” Her myriad of posters from each production “just shows you how much she cares, even the small things… She does everything for her students.” Ms. Gorski’s student Aidan, who has known her for 6 years, says, “She cares about everyone, she cares about you.” He played the leading role in this year’s musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown: “She gave me that role, and I didn’t think I could do it… and she kept telling me that I could do it, and that was really important to me.” Her student Molly Gannon, who first met Ms. Gorski 8 years ago, says Ms. Gorski is “someone who just knows everything… she is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met… she’s been probably my greatest mentor.” 

Ms. Gorski said that from PCS she has “so many memories” including performing at the Natural Bridges campus, putting on haunted houses, and seeing students graduate; “it’s just incredible and really special”.

When asked how her last musical with close colleague and PCS choir director Ms. Hughes, made her feel, she said, “It was just so fun to see everyone on stage again, and sing and dance and do the things they love… it’s so nice to be back in the theater… It made me feel good.”

Many things inspire Ms. Gorski to perform. “I think the things that inspire me are people who are always trying something new. I love to read the NY Times and shows…I love Augusto Boal, who’s all about street theater and how to get people’s voices heard. I love August Wilson who brought the Black voice to the stage… And I love people who are amazing performers, like Meryl Streep, who just can embody almost any character, and those people inspire me.”

In addition to helping students “foster their love of acting,” Ms. Gorski has impacted them in so many ways. When kids were asked about Ms. Gorski’s lasting impact on them, RJ recalled, “she would always say, ‘Don’t play with emotions… Never pity yourself onstage’”. Kayla Liu says, “Ms. Gorski… has taught us a lot in drama, but she’s also a very caring person to talk to, like outside of class”. Kenzie Gill says Ms. Gorski taught her to “follow your dreams in life and do something that makes you happy.”

“The legacy I hope to leave is a passion for doing drama… and to keep this program alive and vibrant…for the community, and [to provide] a place for kids to be themselves in a safe environment, and be able to enjoy something that may be a stretch for them, but will eventually [help them] grow as a person.” In the end, Ms. Gorski certainly has sparked “a passion for doing drama” in her students.