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Drama Alum Julio Morales ‘09 Honored Statewide as Teacher of the Year

Julio Morales '09UST-Houston drama alumnus Julio Morales ’09 is the 2020 K-12 Secondary Teacher of the Year as honored by the Texas Educational Theatre Association. Morales serves as the theatre director at Sharpstown High School, where he attended as a student.

He received the award in late September at the Texas Educational TheatreFest, a celebration of educational theater held virtually in partnership with Digital Theatre.

“I am honored,” Morales said. “There are many theatre educators around the state who are hardworking and do amazing work with their students. I am here to help any theater education majors who are looking for help or guidance.”

Morales Makes his Mark at Sharpstown High School

When Morales attended Sharpstown High School, there was no musical theatre department. It was at University of St. Thomas that he discovered the exhilarating world of musical theatre. After graduating from UST with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama, Morales returned to his high school alma mater to teach. It is a role he is passionate about.

One of Morales’ big “wow moments” at Sharpstown High School came during his first year on the job. “We won a grant through NBC and SMASH. It was to help us produce a musical.” News of the win prompted cheers from the entire city for Morales and the Sharpstown musical theatre group.

Morales’ Talent Shines at UST through Professor Mentorship

Drama Professor Claire McDonald, who taught Morales, realized from the start that he would shine. “I have always known that Julio was going to be fabulous since his breakout role playing Audrey the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors. I was over the moon when Julio decided to become a drama teacher because he has the energy, creativity, compassion and talent to be the awesome teacher he has become.”

Morales chose to attend UST because he wanted a small college where he was known and mentored. As a first-generation student, Morales sought to be where the professors knew his name and gave him personalized attention. He also wanted an intimate drama department. But most of all, he longed for a place where he could grow his Catholic faith.

“UST was that school,” Morales said. “I loved my classmates at UST and the productions we created. To our theatre professors, THANK YOU! Your passion and dedication are crucial to my success as a theatre director.”

Morales sums up the impact a UST professor has had on his life’s purpose.

”Professor McDonald has been a great influence on me, and I just want her to know how much she’s changed my life. Love ya, Ms. Mac!”