“Michael has always allowed me the freedom to find my own way as an actor and as an individual. He helped me to understand that life, like art, must be explored and lived without a net. Michael was unwavering in his support of me as a human being and that allowed the fledgling artist in me to thrive in a safe, creative, and utterly loving environment. I’m proud to say he is one of the finest teachers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.” – Miles Doleac, All My Children Cast · Hollywood, California

  • “Michael infused in me a confidence that could not be shaken on stage or in personal meetings. I am grateful for his coaching help.” – Carla Haag Abernathy, Mississippi Junior Miss (Now DYW) and Miss Mississippi 1988

  • “Of all the professional training that I have had, Michael’s interview sessions and onstage savvy laid a great foundation for my career in television.” – Nan Sumrall Kelley, Miss Mississippi 1985 and TV Personality /Host

  • “The networking and public relations skills that I learned from him serve me well, even today.” – Kimberly McGuffee Mansour, Miss Mississippi 1986

  • “I knew after my first day on the floor of Youth Congress that I wanted a career in politics. I thank Coach Marks for opening that door for me.” – Bret K. Boyles, Political Fundraiser · Washington, D.C.
  • “The networking and public relations skills that I learned from him serve me well, even today.” – Kimberly McGuffee Mansour, Miss Mississippi 1986

  • “I knew after my first day on the floor of Youth Congress that I wanted a career in politics. I thank Coach Marks for opening that door for me.” – Bret K. Boyles, Political Fundraiser · Washington, D.C.

  • “He instilled in me a desire to excel and never be complacent.” – Allen N. Burke, Senior Accountant, Ernst & Young · Atlanta, Georgia

  • “As an Economics graduate of Harvard, I now negotiate deals for a living, and the ability to see all sides while remaining consistent with the goals of the company is crucial. The critical reasoning and improvisational skills Mr. Marks instilled in me, refined over countless hours of practice, repetition, and competition, has made the million-dollar negotiation an inferior challenge.” – Charles Phillips, Director of Business Development, Certive Corporation · Mountain View, California

“The single greatest asset afforded the United States, and indeed any nation, as we move into the next millennium, is people. Developing a globally competitive workforce is critical to our future. On an individual basis being an expert in one field is obviously important, but Michael Marks, my high school debate coach, taught me that real competitive edge is derived from embracing many disciplines. The ability to think across many disciplines results in a synergy that will be required to drive creative solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.” – Bryan Brister, Research Scientist, General Electric Plastics · Evansville, Indiana

  • “As an African American, I appreciate the lessons that Mr. Marks taught us about interpersonal problems in diverse settings. His college public address course always underscored the value of communicating with people from all walks of life.” – Robert L. Magee; Regional General Manager (Great Los Angeles Area), Pacific Bell Directories · Los Angeles, California

  • “Now that I look back at high school, Coach Marks really worked our tails off! We didn’t mind, though, because we wanted to be the best and we wanted him to be proud of us.” – Corbett Kobs · Aspen, Colorado

  • “I always admired his gung-ho spirit. He could get us excited about anything!” – Robert Keating; Music Educator, Gulliver Academy · Miami, Florida

  • “What Michael Marks has taught me as friend, teacher, and mentor, was not limited to the arts, drama, or speech. He instilled in me a drive to exceed, excel, and to never be complacent. I owe much of my early success to Mr. Marks and am grateful to have a continuing friendship with him.” – Allen N. Burke, Senior Accountant, Ernst & Young, LLP · Atlanta, Georgia
  • “Marks traditionally served as the emcee for the university’s summer band camp. A hit with high school musicians, he has a real flair for connecting with kids.” – Jimmy Harrington; Elementary School Music Educator · Fairbanks, Alaska

  • “What I remember about Coach Marks was that he taught six academic classes, staged four full scale musicals a year, coached the debate team, mock trial team, and still had time to take drama classes on field trips to see professional theatre. His energy amazes me!” – Michael Shemper, Player Manager, Gaylord Entertainment · Scottsdale, Arizona

  • “As an interview coach, he was second to none. Interviewing and landing a job as a teacher was a breeze after his class unit on Job Pursuit.” – Michelle Manguno, Former Instructor of Communication, Arkansas State University · Jonesboro, Arkansas

“With Mr. Marks, theatre always mirrored real life. When we staged Oklahoma!, we gave the money to victims of the tragic bombing there. We were the first high school in the United States to officially join Broadway Cares/Equity Funds A.I.D.S. To combat teen drug abuse, we mounted the world premiere of Raising Stallions, a show that involved an audience forum on drugs following the performance of this specially commissioned work.” – Rashad Naylor, Performer, Hershey Park Entertainment · Hershey, Pennsylvania

  • “I loved studying character acting under him.  Who knew that I could parlay dramatic acting into a state title-winning talent?!” – Elizabeth Dickson Schwartz, Mississippi Junior Miss (Now DYW) 1990

  • “He was challenged to find a talent for me. It was more than magic in his mentorship that allowed me to embrace becoming the state and Miss America’s first magician.” – Beth Howell, Mississippi Junior Miss (Now DYW) and Miss Mississippi 1990

  • “Winning talent on the Miss America stage requires creative coaching and musical expertise.  Marks made my performance nationally competitive.” – Becky Pruett Denham, Miss Mississippi 2001 and Miss America Preliminary Talent Winner

  • “For a lot of students on the debate team, Michael Marks was as close to us as our own parents. We could always talk to him about real world problems. We knew he really cared. He was a genuine mentor.” – Chad Cooley; Educator, Hoover High School · Birmingham, Alabama
  • “Mr. Michael helped me refine my platform and social impact scope to achieve maximum exposure for both me and my life mission.” – Anne Elizabeth Buys, Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen 2015 and Miss Mississippi 2017

  • “Working with Michael to stage and costume my 90 seconds at center stage gave me the confidence to go all the way!” – Kristen Logan Sepesi, America’s Junior Miss (Now DYW)

  • “Analysis of current events combined with the art of debate proved a winning combination for me in competition.” – Vicki Lowery Leech, Miss T.E.E.N.E. of America

  • “He always said that all talent is – is knowing that you can do something well.  I was definitely prepared to take the stage in national competition.” – Susan Akin, Miss America 1986

  • Not only did he teach me to act and speak, but he taught me the importance of being involved in my community, state, and nation as a citizen and as an advocate for what we do and what we love — teaching.” – Stacey Matthews Overstreet, Classroom Teacher, Alternative School · Evanston, Illinois

“I loved how Michael organized my life in order to pursue my career goals. His critical eye for performance is uncanny.” – Jasmine Murray, Miss Mississippi 2014, American Idol Finalist, Top Ten Miss America and Christian Recording Star

  • “Mr. Marks always taught us that personal success means nothing if you don’t improve the lives of those around you. Following his example, I am an attorney by day and volunteer community educator by night.” – Sam Westmoreland, Attorney/Instructor of Law, American Intercontinental University · Roswell, Georgia

  • “Our production of A Raisin in the Sun sold out during Black History Month. Boy, were we proud to be in the cast of the first held over showcase in school history! The quality of Mr. Marks’ shows always produced capacity crowds.” – Gerald Carpenter, Publisher/Printer, Ouebecor · Chicago, Illinois

  • “Of all my high school studies, Mr. Marks’ speech communication class added the most value to my life. As A.R. Gurney, Jr. said in his play, The Dining Room, ‘It prepared me for life in the work-a-day world.'” – Rev. Chad Grissom, University Christian Fellowship · Lexington, Kentucky

  • “As a lawyer practicing in the field of complex commercial litigation, I find that I still call upon the fundamentals of oral advocacy and communication first instilled in me by Mr. Michael Marks.” – Matthew T. Brown,  Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere, & Denegre, LLP · New Orleans, Louisiana