My Name Is... Jesse Collett of Arvada

Pomona grad returns to the stage of his alma mater, this time as a teacher


About me

For me, this is like a dream come true: I’m back where I started.

I was born and raised in Arvada and I’m a graduate of Pomona High School. After I left in 2010, I moved to Greeley where I studied musical theater and theater education. Upon my graduation, I moved to Florida with my fiancée, Gina, where I worked as a sub teacher for five months. It was fun, and definitely an adventure, but when I got the call telling me I got the co-director of Pomona’s Catwalk Theatre Company, I jumped.

And I’ve never looked back.

My dream job

I was so excited, so I packed up my life in Florida and drove straight through a weekend so I could get to work my dream job on Monday. This is an awesome opportunity to watch students grow in an inspirational way. For me, teaching is about being able to discover what students are passionate about and encourage them to live well. Theater is a great way to do that because students can experience the mistakes of their characters, rather than make them themselves. It’s a safe way to learn.

This last year has been incredible; it’s the sweetest gig in the world. I love being in the classroom, teaching and really connecting to my students. It’s about giving the students a wonderful opportunity, seeing them grow and making sure I’m there for them along the way.

In my free time...

Outside my theater life, I’m a huge nerd.

I can do a Rubik’s cube in under a minute and always have one with me. When I’m not solving that puzzle, I watch “Doctor Who,” Harry Potter — I’m a Gryffindor — Pixar, Star Wars. I love it all. I go to Comic Con every year and can’t wait to go this year.

I also love the arts and various museums around Colorado. Gina and I have been going on these adventures to the Colorado Symphony for their nerd nights, where they play music from all our favorite films to nerd out to. We also love the zoo.

Enjoying life

When we’re not jamming to Colorado’s symphony, we go on random trips, including a recent trip to Copper Mountain to learn how to snowboard, because we didn’t know how. It was a rather last-minute decision, and we fell a lot, but it was a ton of fun.

For me, the biggest challenge and biggest success in life is being here. I’ve been able to find a good work-life balance after working three jobs in Florida, and now I’m in a good environment, with good faculty and administration and great students.

The day I got my teacher ID was the best day of my life — well, so far.


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