Technical Theater crew evacuation of Performing Arts Center prompts recognition

During 8th period Jan. 12 in the Performing Arts Center, Deputy Brian Peals honored the 40 Technical Theater crew members for successfully evacuating a sold-out PAC after a false fire alarm went off. Peals handed each student a special coin and shook their hands to recognize how efficiently they were able to get everyone out. 

“It is a coin that my partner, Deputy Kunz, designed,” Peals said. “It has Westlake on one side and Travis County Sheriff’s Office on the other. We had them made to recognize students that go above and beyond or when we may see random acts of kindness. For students to take charge and lead the way in this kind of incident is awesome. We wanted a way of letting students know we see them and thank them.”

On Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m, right before the Alisa’s Dance Academy Nutcracker Spectacular performance, contractors working in the competition gym accidentally triggered the alarm while replacing fluorescent lights with energy efficient LED lights. While Peals and director of PAC David Poole investigated the source of the alarm, the Tech students cleared 1,100 audience members and roughly 200 dancers and musicians backstage. 

I was extremely impressed with how the students and staff performed during the evacuation,” Poole said. “It was a textbook operation, and we received many positive comments from the patrons attending the Nutcracker Spectacular that evening regarding the professionalism of the Technical Theater students.”  

Although this wasn’t the first time Peals awarded these coins, this group’s extraordinary performance in the face of trial exemplifies the merit an award like this honors. 

“It was an oddity that a group was recognized like this because usually it is an individual or two at a time that we address immediately,” Peals said. “It was easier to set a group presentation later, like we did. If I witnessed another large group acting in kind, I would acknowledge them as well.”