5 Minutes with…Theater Teacher Mr. Justin Baldridge

Mr. Baldridge shares the last movie watched, the meal he’d eat for the rest of his life and what his warning label would say if he had one.

Mr. Justin Baldridge didn’t grow up having a passion for theater, yet he’s become the new theater teacher at Van Nuys High School. Born and raised in Rancho Cucamonga out in the Inland Empire, he graduated from Etiwanda High School before attending Cal State Fullerton for his undergraduate degree and his master’s degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Mr. Baldridge was initially a music major before he spontaneously switched to theater and realized it was his true calling. He taught at Don Avila Middle School for 3 years and Redondo Union High School for 7 years. Mr. Baldridge attempted to pursue theater professionally, but covid-19 caused a change in his plans and he’s now a part of the VNHS community as one of the many new teachers. 

If you could choose to do something for a day, what would it be?

I would go on roller coasters. 24 hours isn’t a long time to go on anything so I’d go on roller coasters that I’ve never been on. There are lots of roller coasters in Europe that are sprinkled throughout the country so I’d love to go on those within the 24 hours.

If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

A really good hamburger. I just love a good burger. It has to have a big, fat patty and I like mine with bacon and barbeque sauce, sometimes onion rings too. I love burgers. 

What was the last movie you watched? What did you think?

Enola Holmes 2, the sequel to Enola Holmes. I enjoyed it so much more than the first movie. It’s better than the first because I thought the acting was much better. It’s a great move and I recommend it, it’s a great and fantastic movie. You’ll love it!

What makes you laugh the most?

If it’s inappropriate. That’s a little vague, I guess an example would be saying the wrong things at the wrong time. I would get canceled a lot for that, but I find it funny when that happens. Also, laughing at the wrong moments too. 

What was your favorite subject when you were in school?

I was a music kid. I played piano and the clarinet. I even did marching band and went to college as a music major initially. Putting music aside, my favorite subject would have to be between English and Latin.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

“Warning: Will speak his truth whether you like it or not.”

Did you have a job before becoming a teacher? How was it? 

I worked at Starbucks. The company itself wasn’t that great, but the people I worked with were fantastic. I had a lot of fun. We got along so well and there’s an incident that I’ll never forget. The song,  I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston played on the speaker while I was working on the register, and everyone started singing.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

First thing I would do is get my mom and brother financially stable, just get them taken care of. While I like to work I also really love to travel. I would get everything in my apartment and put them in storage and just start traveling. Some of the money would be used to buy a place here and in New York so I could travel back and forth.