Two teachers receive Icons of the Arts recognition

Irene Alegria, Staff Writer

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VMT’s Dr. Mary Grace Carroll, piano instructor, and Mr. Vernon Carroll, dean of theater, were received Icons of the Arts award at the 10th Icons of the Arts Gala event held at the IBC Bank Annex by the Laredo Theater Guild on March 28 

“I was at a theater guild board meeting and we were informed that the award was going to happen and who was going to be awarded this icon award,” Mr. Carroll stated when asked where he was when he found out he would be receiving the award.

I hope they remember that I did my best and that I liked working with people. Enjoy seeing the light come on with students and I particularly enjoy seeing students do things better than I can do then.”

— Mr. Vernon Carroll

Dr. Carroll was on campus when she got news of receiving the prestigious award.  

Each explained the highlight of their careers. 

“Being persistent and pursuing my graduate degrees. Using my talent to help others and making a good decision in becoming a teacher, Dr. Carroll said. 

Mr. Carroll added, “Teaching at VMT for one thing, that’s the first thing. Directing shows for the Theater Guild and its predecessor Laredo Musical Theater International. I think every show I direct is the highlight of my career. Some that I remember very well are The Crucible, Fame, Beauty and the Beast, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Steel Magnolias. Those are shows that I particularly enjoyed working with. All of them really but those stick out in my mind. Oh, and Shrek, of course, Shrek. Shrek was particularly a bright spot, I genuinely enjoyed doing that.

They explained how they hope others remember them in 25 years. 

“I hope they remember that I did my best and that I liked working with people. Enjoy seeing the light come on with students and I particularly enjoy seeing students do things better than I can do them. And basically, that I existed, I guess. It’s kind of hard to come up with something, I don’t think about that. I think about what we’re doing now and what students will be doing in 25 years, Mr. Carroll stated. 

Dr. Carroll added, “I hope people remember that I contributed what I could and that I tried to bring out the best in my students.”

At the event itself, held in the IBC bank Annex, Mr. Carroll stated that a memorable moment was “When Henry Mejia introduced me, took out a roll of gaff tape and held it up and said that he had learned a lot from Vernon Carroll and the first thing was about gaff tape. So that was a memorable moment.” 

Dr. Carroll added, “Seeing my friends that I hadn’t seen for a while, listening to my husband’s acceptance speech, which was very funny. And seeing others being honored in such a special way.” 

I hope people remember that I contributed what I could and that I tried to bring out the best in my students.”

— Dr. Mary Grace Carroll

The Carroll’s were asked what moment in their careers they would go back to. 

“Opening night for Shrek when I saw my daughter, Kathryn Carroll, play the lead and listening to her sing and watching her perform that role of the princess. It was really very special,” Mr. Carroll stated. 

Dr. Carroll added, “I’d go back to my final doctoral recital at the University of Miami so I could play it over again. 

The Carrolls explained what this honor meant to them in their professional lives. 

For me, it means that the work that we do to promote the arts in Laredo is important and that it’s recognized, Dr. Carroll stated. 

Mr. Carroll added, “Visibility, for one thing, I guess. People look and see and its sort of a stamp of approval of the quality of the work that I’ve done. And that people have recognized that I have done a body of work and not just one show that was good but consistently doing very good work, you get an award like this, I think. I guess it’s just a testament to my body of work that I have done in Laredo and other places.”