Donier Tyler, Founding Theatre Arts Teacher, DRW College Prep

1. What high school did you attend?

I attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL (my hometown).

2. What is the most interesting  job you have ever had? 

Over the years I have had a slew of jobs- from working as a professional actress (community theatre, Broadway in Chicago, television commercials, independent film, and one major motion picture); to a merchandiser for both Urban Outfitters and the now out-of-business American Apparel; to an ESL teacher working primarily with undocumented immigrants; to starting Theatre of the Oppressed Chicago; to a Catholic grade school Theatre instructor; to a Noble sub. However, my most interesting job would be working for a non-profit taking college students all over the world to Israel, and educating them on the Middle East crisis. It was the most exciting two years of my life.

3. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

Outside of work, I love spending time with my co-workers (family). I always look forward to recapping the week and delving more into their lives. Over my years at DRW, I have connected with amazing people who I know will be life-long comrades and a family I can always depend on.

Honorable Mentions: SLEEP, my faith (church), shopping (I may have a slight problem called “CAD”- Charging Account Disease), and watching movies/documentaries.

Lastly, I also plan on returning to my first love- acting. Performing has always been my life’s passion. I was inspired at the age of three by Judy Garland. Everyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Judy. I am her biggest fan. Teaching can be a wonderfully consuming venture, so acting has been on a pause for a while. I’m getting new headshots soon, and plan to start auditioning for agencies. I also plan to start back doing Improv. I used to be in an Improv group that performed in Chicago Improv clubs and theaters. I’m a little funny… so they say. I can also do 100 or-so different voices and impressions. My student’s favorite is my “man” voice.

4. Give one highlight of your work so far at Noble

One highlight working at Noble… That’s hard to pick over an eight year span. I would have to say putting on the plays at DRW. Over my years here, I have put on well-over twenty performances (townhalls, winter plays, musicals, iFest etc…), but the most amazing piece in doing-so has been the pleasure of seeing how talented our kids in North Lawndale are. My program is student-run. So, it’s incredible seeing my kids direct, produce, costume, set design, run tech, and perform in performance-after-performance with limited resources (we all have the all-purpose room that doesn’t quite suffice as an auditorium). My kids are amazing! They have always pulled through and put on incredible shows. (Thee) Steppenwolf works with us, and has said time-and-time again that, “The young people in DRW’s theatre program are some of the most talented in Chicago and have an amazing program- we love being here.”

5. Who is a role model or hero of yours and why?

My current role model and hero is our dearly departed Mr. Marlowe Cribbs. Mr. Cribbs passed away suddenly at the end of January. My world has been turned upside down. He was my co-worker for some-time here at DRW, but more importantly he was my dear friend. I called him “Grandpa”. Mr. Cribbs was the embodiment of dedication- he was the first one in the building every morning. He was a gentleman- making sure to reach out to anyone and everyone who needed help. He was a wealth of wisdom for our DRW community- when in trouble (both staff and students) looked for Mr. Cribbs. He was an amazing speaker- having many years on radio as a personality. He was an outstanding educator- stepping into a class with him, was stepping into a rainbow of knowledge… He knew everything. He was a performer- with an incredible voice, he recorded gospel albums and was a staple in the Chicago gospel community. He was love- and we (at DRW) loved him greatly. I can only hope that I become half of who he was- a man for all seasons… Marlowe Cribbs. Rest in peace.

Rayvaughn Jackson, Sophomore, DRW College Prep

1. How would you describe DRW College Prep (DRW)?

While attending DRW, I’ve met a lot of supportive teachers and students. DRW is like a second home to me. I feel really safe and loved in the environment. The teachers support you in every way and push you to your limits to make sure you’re ready for any challenge.

2. What is your favorite part about going to school at DRW?

My favorite part about going to DRW is being able to see all of my friends and teachers. The support from everyone in the school is truly amazing. My friends give me a good laugh, and my teachers make sure I’m able to jump over any obstacle that will apprehend me from becoming successful in the future. This makes me excited to come to school and represent all of the cheetahs in DRW.

3. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

My biggest accomplishment so far is being able to master the material in every single class, and also being able to assist my advisory brothers with any questions that they have. Helping others succeed is one of my main goals in life. So, when I help them I feel as if I’m changing the community to be able to learn lessons from each other. I believe that life’s greatest lessons are learned through peers, and this is exactly what I want my fellow classmates to understand. This is changing the community in DRW, so this is one amazing accomplishment to me.

4. What is your dream job or dream college?

My dream college is Stanford University. I’ve thought about this over the last three years of my life, and I’ve realized that I love planning events. I would enjoy event planning because I have a passion for making peoples lives easier. Plus, when I am planning small events with my friends I get a rush of excitement. Thus, telling me I should look further into that as a career path. Stanford would be an amazing school choice because they’re one of the top schools in business, and have many more programs that I am interested in.

At Noble, we are college bound. As the largest charter public school network in Chicago, Noble’s high school program exposes our students to higher education options and guides them through the collegiate application process. Through college trips, college fairs, summer college immersion programs and required academic courses, Noble demystifies the college experience and shapes students’ beliefs and confidence about higher education.

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