Ted Walch, who taught theatre, cinema studies, and philosophy at California's Harvard-Westlake School, was honored by his students, both current and former, earlier this month. One of those students, Jacob Soboroff, returned to the preparatory school of his youth to capture the final show on behalf of Today.
"He's the reason I'm doing what I'm doing now, and why my life is the way it is" says Jason Segel, star of How I Met Your Mother, The Muppets, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Thousands of Walch's students have gone into the arts, including celebrity siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Present at the final show were Segal, Allison Janney, Beanie Feldstein, Ben Platt, Nicole Brown, and more. The show was also produced by Marc and Julie Platt.
"He sees who you really are, and helps you reach your potential," shares Brown, current president of TriStar Pictures.
In Soboroff's video, performance footage of Feldstein and Platt can be seen, as well as clips from a speech given by Janney. The final concert, which capped off his fifty years as an educator, was a celebration of all he had given his students, from the classroom to the real world.
Walch had words of wisdom for other members of the teaching profession. "If I do only one thing with my students, it is treat them like a fellow adult, even though they're not. Treat their ideas with great respect, even if it's kind of ordinary, and let them know you're safe. That you are there, supporting them, confident that the end result will work... A student put it better than I will. He said, 'You allowed me to find out who I am. You had the decency to treat me as the person you hoped I would become.' And that is what teachers do."