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Former North Carroll High teacher Roberta Gore to read from new memoir at Hampstead Day

Former North Carroll High teacher Roberta Gore to read from new memoir at Hampstead Day
Drama teacher Roberta Gore addresses North Carroll High School's 59th graduation exercises at McDaniel College in 2015. Gore is reading from her memoir, “Saint Genesius and Me: A Love Story,” during Hampstead Day on Saturday, May 26, at Arcadia Carnival Grounds in Upperco. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Former North Carroll Panthers of all ages can add a new title to their summer reading lists this summer written by a teacher who spent 34 years at the high school.

Roberta Gore’s new book, “Saint Genesius and Me: A Love Story,” launched on May 8, and she will be holding a signing during Hampstead Day on Saturday, May 26, at Arcadia carnival grounds.

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The book is Gore’s third book, but her first foray into memoir after two fiction titles. Gore said writing in the new genre was “very complicated” for her because “fiction is my safe place. It comes much more instinctively,” she said.

She was inspired to jump into the genre by the announcement that North Carroll High School was to close.

"Saint Genesius and Me: A Love Story" by Roberta Gore was released in 2018 and chronicles Gore's 34 years as a drama teacher at the former North Carroll High School.
"Saint Genesius and Me: A Love Story" by Roberta Gore was released in 2018 and chronicles Gore's 34 years as a drama teacher at the former North Carroll High School. (Courtesy Photo)

“In my own little brain I have all these things that happened,” she said. “I wanted to commit it to some place it could be [kept] for good and not fade — who we were, where we were, and what we were.”

“It’s one of the stories I knew I wanted to get down on paper,” she added.

St. Genesius is a name familiar to those close to the North Carroll drama program, though it comes with an air of mystery. St. Genesius is known as the patron saint of actors, and Gore would lead a prayer before each show that the drama department produced.

Then, one opening night, Gore received letters addressed from “St. Genesius.” One wished the cast and crew well, referencing specific moments and in-jokes from the rehearsal process. The other was for Gore alone.

“Clearly whoever wrote the letter knew the show and knew us,” Gore said. And ever since, she has gotten letters from St. Genesius on opening nights.

The book uses sections from these letters to become a connecting thread between the moments Gore focuses on in each chapter.

She dealt with one of the classic struggles of memoir as she decided how to tell her stories while giving due respect to the privacy of others.

“I didn’t want it to be a book that was exposing all kinds of horrible stuff,” she said. “I wanted it to be a book that was filled with good memories.”

And though Gore has moved to Francis Scott Key High School and many of her students transferred to finish out high School in Manchester Valley, the legend of St. Genesius lives on.

On the opening night of the first show she worked on at FSK, Gore received a St. Genesius Letter, and the drama students of Manchester Valley received one as well.

“The tradition continues — and I have no idea who’s [doing it]” Gore said.

The book can be purchased online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon or in person at Hampstead Day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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Gore also plans to be at Art in the Park and a book launch at Birdie's Café in Westminster will be announced for later this summer.

North Carroll High drama teacher Roberta Gore and Alex Eikenberg go over cast sheets during auditions for Alice in Wonderland in 2010. Gore is reading from her memoir, “Saint Genesius and Me: A Love Story,” during Hampstead Day, Saturday, May 26 at Arcadia Carnival Grounds.
North Carroll High drama teacher Roberta Gore and Alex Eikenberg go over cast sheets during auditions for Alice in Wonderland in 2010. Gore is reading from her memoir, “Saint Genesius and Me: A Love Story,” during Hampstead Day, Saturday, May 26 at Arcadia Carnival Grounds. (DYLAN SLAGLE / Carroll County Times)
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