TOPEKA (KSNT)– Teachers make a difference in the community every day. In fact, they are teaching the kids of tomorrow. But when a teacher goes above and beyond in a course that can get overlooked, it makes a lasting impact on their futures.

The Washburn Rural High School theater is empty now, but come October, the chatter from the crowd will fill the air, seats will be full and Maeghan Bishop’s theater students will take the stage again.

Bishop is the director of theatre at Washburn Rural. She’s been teaching theater kids for about 16 years. Recently, her students got to take their talents to a big stage performing as one of six productions at the International Thespian Festival in Indiana, and another in the Sunflower State.

“We were selected to perform at the Kansas Thespian Award Festival,” Bishop said. “We were one of the three main stage shows.”

Not only has she been teaching students in Topeka for more than a decade she’s also involved in the theater scene outside of school. She volunteers with the Topeka Civic Theater and she’s the president and co-founder of the Lady Shakes Theater Company, a women-driven organization reimagining classical theatre.

“Just theater, theater,” she said in amusement. “All day every day.

To Bishop, the theater isn’t just a hobby or a class you chose just to fill your schedule. It’s a moment where she gets to connect with her students, focusing on ways to make them their best selves in her class and in the future.

“So many kids just want to know somebody sees them and somebody believes in them,” Bishop said. “Probably even more than they believe in themselves at that moment.”

The arts can be overlooked sometimes when it comes to school. However, Meaghan Bishop believes the skills they learn to use on the stage can live with them forever. Teaching public speaking skills, group work and even confidence.

“I still believe I’m making an important difference while they’re in my room,” she said. “And helping them to be the humans they are going to become and find out what version of their best selves they want to be.”

Bishop also directs the Theatre for Young Audiences group at the high school.

The fall play will be “Much Ado About Nothing.” You can find show information here.