Ballard commences final year with great legacy

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Video by Alana Rood.

By Kara Hallam

Enterprise Editor

@KaraHallam

After serving Coppell High School for 19 years, technical theatre teacher Bill Ballard is ready to make his final scene. As he completes his last year at CHS, he tries to enjoy each day he has at the school keeping in mind that he will retire at the end of the year.

“I’m starting to have some physical problems and this tech theatre stuff is a young man’s game. I’m going to retire because I think my body is not up to the challenge anymore,” Ballard said.

Ballard has designed sets for the past 43 years. He grew up in Arkansas and fell in love with set design while in college. When he moved to Texas, he taught in East Texas for 10 years and then applied for a job at CHS after his wife got a job in Dallas.

“I came here hoping to find [a job]. I came out here and interviewed and the principal at the time seemed to like me,” Ballard said.

Having joined the CHS community in 1996, Ballard has seen the school change over time and has gotten the chance to bond with many students. He not only designs the theatre department sets, but also teaches Broadway Bound and Technical Theatre.

“[Ballard] has done many many things to impact the program for the kids and myself,” theatre department head Lisa Tabor said. “I think for the kids he has really been like a dad to them. He really just becomes that porter, the listening ear.”

Ballard has been recognized throughout the department for his incredible kindness. His influence is felt by many.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forget working with Mr. Ballard, not just as an actor but as a student in the theatre department,” 2014 CHS graduate Kristen West said. “I just hope he understands what an impact he has had on all of the students he’s directed in plays or in classes and those he has had a conversation with.”

Although his official position pertains to technical theatre, Ballard’s has been a director for several plays. His unique coaching style in which he considers himself a “selector” rather than a director, has impacted the way students view themselves and Ballard.

Many drama students have noted how he always greets them in the hallways, including students he has not had classes with. This small gesture is one of the great things about Ballard.

“Mr. Ballard does a lot of work behind the scenes and he doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but he is up here working in the evening and then on Saturdays. He is making sure all of the shows look great,” senior Jackie Malish said.

Malish has worked with Ballard since she was freshman, and became his teacher aide this year.

“For his last year here, we decorated his room with all of his old show posters. He has a ton of photos and certificates and you can tell that people have always loved Mr. Ballard,” Malish said.

Having completed about 120 sets Ballard has seen it all. He believes that after this year it is time to settle down and spend his retirement with his grandkids.

“I plan to enjoy everyday as much as I can. I plan to totally retire, never build another set. So it’s important that everyday is a good day,” Ballard said.

Ballard gives full credit to the students and his work when it comes to his commitment of 19 years to the school. Typically getting the opportunity to see students develop throughout their high school career, he is disappointed he will not get the chance to see this year’s theatre  juniors graduate.

“I started this year thinking ‘this is my last first day of school’,” Ballard said. “I have enjoyed working with the people here, I like this area and it has just been a good experience. – it would have to be for someone to work here for 19 years.”