The Triple Threat

Teacher profile of Susan Drozd


Ms. Drozd speaking at the 2016 Graduation Ceremony.

All day, students pass the colorful little office near the math department at Buffalo Seminary. This office’s shelves are filled with books, glittery skulls, photos, there are plushies on chairs, magnets, endless piles of paper in the tiny little room. Susan Drozd is the queen of her realm of theater and art in this office. During spontaneous moments in the day, students drop by to share a concern over an exam or needing assistance for an emotional breakdown. The lives of students spill and yet the life of Ms. Drozd is kept private.

Susan Drozd’s office/drama den.

From a person who is always willing to help and listen to others, it is interesting to learn about a little bit more about this beloved teacher.

Ms. Drozd went to Indian River High School in Philadelphia, New York. Children of farmers and military families attended the school. Ms. Drozd recalled the new families from the military and the rural kids caused a rift within the walls of the institution. “I wasn’t affected from this much, but I could see it; in the way people sat, talked to each other and more. It was the first time people were labelled into a group.”

Ms. Drozd and Ms. Cass during Hornet/Jacket Day 2016.

When asked about her favorite and least classes, Ms. Drozd’s answers were surprising to say the least. Her favorite class was music history, due to having a fiery and brilliant woman as her teacher (what some students and faculty may describe Ms. Drozd as now). “She was a total badass. She was tough, scary, brilliant and pushed you. You were on fire every time you left the class.” On the other hand, Ms. Drozd’s least favorite class was…  drama class. The teachers from music history and drama class were complete opposites. During the conversation, one can sense the venom and strong dislike in the tone of Ms. Drozd’s words. “I didn’t trust his [the teacher’s] goals; it was a big fake time. Everything was a waste of my entire existence.” Despite desperately wanting to get in that class, Ms. Drozd’s expectations were completely unmet.

Everything was a waste of my entire existence.”

— Ms. Drozd

Apart from that particular bad experience, Ms. Drozd was fully involved musically in high school. She performed in all the musicals and took part in a couple plays. In addition, she sang in the elite show choir and participated in band, orchestra, and chorus. Whenever she had the chance to perform, she did. This can still be seen now in all of the productions and projects Ms. Drozd is currently involved in – from doing hair and makeup at Musicalfare to directing a show here at SEM. As she said, “I made a promise to myself; I want to be close to the stage as humanly possible.”

Ms. Drozd attended Niagara University (the same school coach Eva Cunningham attended) with her strengths as dance, vocals and acting (in that order).  At Niagara, Ms. Drozd majored in fine arts with a concentration in musical theater.  By the time she completed her degree, her strengths had shifted to acting, vocals, and dance instead.

It was at Niagara where Ms. Drozd started doing fellow actors’ hair for the shows. Doing hair is just her medium; she said she’s naturally good at it. Soon after college, Ms. Drozd landed a job with Shakespeare in the Park which is the root of her love for Shakespeare. Many of these major life experiences were not planned, Ms. Drozd goes where the wind carries her.

Since graduating from Niagara, Ms. Drozd has been involved in numerous productions, both on and off-stage. “Being an actor is hard; you get told no more than yes,” she said. This is where a person can get involved in other positions other than acting, as Ms. Drozd has done. She has been keeping her promise of being close to stage.

At this point in the conversation, the subject matter moved toward fun facts:

  • Favorite food: home-cooked meals
  • Favorite color: purple, but is drawn to green and mainly has black in her closet
  • Next place to visit: New Orleans
  • If not musical theater, than what?: theater history (or history in general)
  • Funeral plans: the cast of Ring of Fire to sing

“If you were to win a Tony, what would your speech be?” came up, but Ms. Drozd did not oblige with a response.

Around the school, almost everyone recognizes Ms. Drozd’s bubbly personality or laughter from down the hallway. Her smile is infectious and her perspective on the world is hard to try and not admire. Emily Broxup ‘17 described Ms. Drozd as “a really smart person overall who always knows what to say. She is very nice, helpful, and encouraging.” When asked about her experience in the classroom or on stage, Emily said “Ms.Drozd has taught me a lot throughout my years at SEM. She has interesting and engaging discussions on what we are reading in class. In theater productions, she has taught me to break out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons.”

The awe and admiration for the beloved teacher reaches through faculty as well. When first asked to describe Ms. Drozd, Mrs. Durland’s eyes quickly began to tear up and her first words were. “I love her so much!” She continued, “She’s such a great teacher and person and we all know that. We speak so much about what is wonderful and unique and compassionate and brilliant about her. I feel the pressure to say something new or perfectly illustrate and honor all that she is. It’s hard to do.”

It is incredible see the affect a person has on a multitude of people. To describe Ms. Drozd in a single sentence is impossible. She represents the change that people wish to be.

Ms. Drozd during Open House, 2016.