The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Thank You, Mrs. Tedford


Freshmen entering Arcadia High School (AHS) are understandably apprehensive about their new environment. Rumors concerning difficult courses, locations to avoid, and the “hard” teachers are present in the atmosphere. Most of the time, we can’t help but believe them. These assumptions make students anxious about their classes, one of which is AHS’s dance program. But, the instant one steps through the door into the large, mirrored room, they are greeted with more than just supportive classmates and a space to dance freely; Mrs. Liza Tedford greets them.

Mrs. Tedford, AHS’s Beginning and Intermediate Dance teacher, has one underlying intention—to push her students to step out of their comfort zones and help them become the best version of themselves. One can marvel at the endless collection of choreography she has created to test her students and showcase to an audience. Mrs. Tedford puts in an immense amount of effort to get her students to cooperate with the timing, technique, and emotion that the performance should portray. 

When she offers criticism to her student dancers, Mrs. Tedford often makes jokes at her own expense to lighten the mood. Her sense of humor goes beyond simply “softening the blow” for her students. This makes it easier and less awkward for students to connect with Mrs. Tedford, learn about her life outside of school, and see her as another human being, rather than just “the dance teacher.” Through this special relationship, Mrs. Tedford can give better criticism without students shaming themselves, all while building a foundation for her students to open up to.

During times that are less than ideal, for both her students and herself, Mrs. Tedford continues to persevere. She never gives up hope on her students. No matter how frustrating things become, she is there to share her wisdom with them day after day. Mrs. Tedford teaches significant life lessons about human bodily functions and the natural processes teens may go through. Though embarrassing, uncomfortable, and not usually spoken about so openly, Mrs. Tedford and her unflappable personality still did so. During health and nutrition units, she does her very best to help her students learn and retain the information. Mrs. Tedford also shared beneficial and relevant anecdotes from her own life to help them acquire the material. She always manages to put her students in the front seat and prioritize her job, regardless of the circumstances. This driving initiative and care shows that despite whatever may be going on in her personal life, her students come first. 

Mrs. Tedford’s endless creativity knows no bounds. In just a short few months, she effectively arranged multiple routines for students of all dance levels and skill sets. It’s amazing to see how each dance piece fits in with the flow of the music and the overall feel of the song. As she instructs the uncoordinated, clumsy, and unfocused students through the choreography for the first time, she tells them, “Just trust me! I know what I’m doing!” And sure enough, everything works out wonderfully in the end. Those same dancers will soon be twirling and leaping on a massive stage. That aim of a magical, dream-like performance, where the audience is wholly captivated and appreciative of the show, is exactly what Mrs. Tedford successfully ends up achieving year after year.

With all that said, thank you, Mrs. Tedford, for always being there for us even during rough times. Thank you for pushing us to our full potential. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. Thank you for showering us with determination and constructive criticism. Thank you for making the most hilarious and random jokes. And most of all, thank you for being our dance teacher.

P.S. We promise to keep our toes pointed and not sound like a herd of cattle during transitions!

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  • D

    DaisyApr 29, 2024 at 10:33 AM

    I still remember taking my first dance class with Liza. I had no idea what I was getting into with joining Orchesis but 25 years later, I still reference it as one of the core memories of learning and growing and managing my time. I learned more from Orchesis rehearsals and commitments than I did from the entirety of my hs career. I just wish I had videos of the epic chair dance we did in intermediate dance that I told everyone about when I saw Taylor Swift perform her vigilante dance!! Happy retirement Liza!!

  • L

    Liza TedfordDec 1, 2023 at 3:45 PM

    This is so incredibly sweet, thank you Chloe and Ellie! You get me…… 😉