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TEACHING MRS. TINGLE

The Valedictorian

Serving as foil to Mrs. Tingle is Leigh Ann Watson, Grandsboro's best, brightest and, thanks to Mrs. Tingle, most oppressed young student. Leigh Ann would like to believe that a good heart, a straight A average and an advanced understanding of American history are enough to win over Mrs. Tingle - but that just isn't the case. To make matters worse, Leigh Ann's very future now depends on Mrs. Tingle's mercy, a word the teacher doesn't seem to understand.

Explains Kevin Williamson: "Leigh Ann is a lot like I was growing up: she has no money, she has no way to get herself out of this town, to get herself to college and realize her dreams of being a writer. Her only shot is a scholarship. So when she finds out one week before graduation that she's number two in her class and there's only one person standing in her way of being number one - Mrs. Tingle - that starts up a chain of events that veer out of control."

To play the level-headed brain who is forced into an impossible situation in her quest for college, Williamson always had in mind the radiant Katie Holmes who stars as the girl-next-door Joey on "Dawson's Creek."

"To meet Katie is to instantly fall under her spell," comments Williamson. "She is that rare jewel, the real deal. In a few words: hypnotic, smart, funny, sweet, shy, boisterous, sneaky, talented. All qualities necessary for a young woman who goes from class brain to master of her own fate over the course of a few hours."

"I loved the script," summarizes Katie Holmes. "I couldn't put it down. It's just so clever in depicting how many ways someone can try to destroy the human spirit - and how some people fight back. Kevin really remembers how it was to be in high school, to have a teacher like Mrs. Tingle. It's easy to relate to - although it is heightened to the point of being comedy - and that makes it a lot of fun."

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