A woman who dedicated her life to teaching drama to students of all ages is being remembered by her colleagues, family and friends.
Helen Zdriluk, who had been an instructor at Brock University for two decades, died Wednesday after a brief illness.
“She was extremely dedicated to the power of drama in both teaching and performance,” said Professor Joe Norris, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts. “She lived and breathed drama 24-7 when you consider she taught high school for many years during the day and then came here and taught at least two evenings a week. And she was running an after-school program.”
Dramatic Arts Associate Professor and Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Director David Vivian said the whole school is saddened by the loss.
“Longtime colleagues will remember Helen for her joyous and industrious leadership in Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, including her Connections projects in the old Studio theatre.”
Norris said DART Connections was a group of education students who rehearsed and performed plays that dealt with social justice and education issues.
Zdriluk taught drama at Burlington Central High School and was the owner and artistic director of Centre Stage Theatre School and Productions. In addition to teaching at Brock, she also completed her master’s at the University in 2010.
“The drama in education community has lost one of the most talented, dynamic and authentic educators and practitioners we have ever seen,” said former student Rox Chwaluk. “Helen was my mentor, my friend and colleague. She was fierce, hardworking, witty and passionate about her craft. She was instrumental in my education, provided me opportunities to ignite my passions, and solidified many of my values.”
Zdriluk is survived by her husband Gerald and children Jennifer and Beth.
A visitation will be held at Smith’s Funeral Home on Brant St. in Burlington Monday, May 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. Those wishing to make a donation in Helen’s memory are asked to consider the Canadian Cancer Society.