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Cast enjoys challenge of this year’s fall show

This year’s fall show will showcase the depth of our students’ acting abilities. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time debuts Friday, Sept. 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ray Day Little Theatre. Additional show times are Sept. 21, 28 and 29 at 7:00 p.m., as well as one matinee on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 2:00 p.m.

The Tony Award-winning play, based on the novel by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simon Stephens, seeks to reveal the complexities of the human spirit. Using a non-traditional dramatic structure, it explores the inner world and perspective of the main character, Christopher. The people in Christopher’s world are not perfect, and they must reckon with their failings and all too human frailties to come together and support him. Due to its mature subject matter, this production is recommended for audiences 14 and older. 

Director Mrs. Lynne Miller said she chose the play because the last few years were comedies, and this drama appealed to her because it won Best Play in 2015 and would be “challenging for our students.”

The ensemble play requires the entire cast to remain on stage for the length of the show – but also uses imaginative techniques to portray the world inside Christopher’s mind. Although not specifically stated, his thought pattern and actions imply that he is on the autism spectrum. To make his world believable and authentic, the cast will have to draw on a “depth of emotion” as their characters interact with him, Mrs. Miller said.

“It’s about understanding that we’re all different and adapting to that,” she said. “It’s also about a family that makes some pretty heavy mistakes and in the end can reconcile” bringing the play to end “on an upbeat note.”

Senior Luke Rodski plays Christopher and  said his character is unlike any other he’s ever played before – or anyone he knows. So he did a lot of research and watched other versions of the show in order to portray his character in a way that is authentic and sensitive to his disability.

“I really like that for a lead character, he’s not an ‘average Joe,’” Luke said. “He’s got his own unique character traits. But it definitely isn’t easy.”

Senior Stephen Wilson plays Ed, Christopher’s father. For Stephen, who’s used to playing the comic relief, being a lead character in a dramatic play is “an interesting challenge,” he said. His goal is to “put myself in Ed’s shoes and try to experience how hard it is to be a father to someone like Christopher.”

Senior Claire Reyes plays Judy, Christopher’s mother. She said she has had to push herself to understand her character and her frame of mind because she doesn’t know anyone like Christopher – and her character isn’t in his life much.

“I’m much different than her personality,” Claire said. “It’s difficult putting myself into all that turmoil she’s going through.”

But the experience is still fun, Claire said, and she likes how the cast has all come together.

Senior Regan Elias is Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher. Her character isn’t in many scenes, but she is also the narrator, allowing her to voice Christopher’s emotions — meaning she must be ready to switch between two different characters.

“I just put myself in a mode where I can know Siobhan’s emotions and also Christopher’s emotions,” Regan said.

She said it is an intense experience being on stage with the full cast but she looks forward to audiences seeing it.

“It’s much more serious, but there are upbeat moments and moments of suspense,” Regan said.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance via the Providence website or by calling 812-945-2538 x 314 or at the box office prior to the show. Limited seating is available.

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Students perform on community stage

Several of our students had the opportunity to take their theatrical skills to other venues – and some are still performing. Rising junior Mara Holifield is a member of the Greek chorus in Mamma Mia! at Shelby County Community Theater in Shelbyville, Ky. The show opened last weekend and continues July 26-28 and Aug. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday, Aug. 4, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $11-$16.

Mara said she has enjoyed the chance to perform during the summer, especially since she feels like “I enter an entire new world when I’m on stage and I love to make the audience feel the same way.”

“I love performing, and I am surrounded by positive people who share the passion with me,” Mara said. “It’s somewhat challenging vocally because we create beautiful harmonies, and I’m singing in a different vocal range than I usually do, but I love the change because I feel like I’m really growing from it.”

Recent alumnus Jesse Zoeller ’19 is in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast at Centerstage in Louisville on select dates through Aug. 4. Tickets are $22-$27. .

Other students wrapped up their performances this past weekend. Rising junior Victor Beeler and Andrew Bittenbender ’18 were in All Shook Up on the Jeffersonville RiverStage, with Victor a featured dancer and member of the ensemble and Andrew playing the role of Dean. Mr. Ronnie Breedlove, our musical theatre/technical theater teacher, was the producing artistic director for the Elvis Presley-inspired musical comedy, and Dan Bullington ’76 played the role of the sheriff.

Victor auditioned after hearing about the show from Mr. Breedlove in his Theatre II class, and he was glad to be part of it.

“I absolutely loved getting to meet new people in the cast,” Victor said. “I also loved the music of the show. It’s all Elvis music, but it’s done in a way where anyone who watches the show or listens to it can enjoy it.”

Performing on an outdoor stage had its challenges though. The heat wave that hit during the first two nights of the show made it difficult for backstage costume changes because everyone was sweating. And the closing show was under the threat of rain, so Victor learned what rain pace was, which calls for the cast to increase its pace to try to finish the show before the rain. Unfortunately, the final scenes were cut Sunday night as a storm rolled in, but Victor still enjoyed the experience – including improving his dancing skills, an area where he is weaker.

“The heat was something else,” he said. “We were all constantly drinking water backstage, and getting in and out of costumes wasn’t easy either. But this didn’t take away the fun at all from the experience.”

Three Deanery students who also have been Providence Junior Players (including Mrs. Ellen Holifield’s two youngest daughters) were in Frozen Jr. at the Clarksville Little Theater. Rising freshman KB Merchant and more than a dozen Deanery students, many of whom have been Providence Junior Players, participated in a summer theatre workshop and performed last weekend in Seussical Jr. and/or Lion King KIDS at the New Albany Amphitheater. New cafeteria manager Mrs. Sarah Gahagen was the choreographer for the junior shows.

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Senior gets taste of future teaching career

Senior Jesse Zoeller has thought about being a teacher since he was a sixth grader at what is now St. John Paul II School. He loved learning, but he was a shy student and struggled to communicate well with others. But through theatre, he has overcome his shyness and after doing a job shadow for a day, he feels more certain that teaching is the career path for him, he said.

Jesse shadowed Mrs. Jill Brock, a former Providence parent and a first grade teacher at St. John Paul II. He said he learned from observing her the qualities needed in a “great elementary teacher,” including enthusiasm and the ability to connect with the students. He was then given the opportunity to connect with the students by reading several books to them, including one of his favorites, The Giving Tree.

When they responded with enthusiastic questions, he said he experienced a sense of validation that he was capable of being a good teacher. When he was their age, he wouldn’t have felt comfortable asking questions or reading aloud to others. But being involved in Providence theatre and working at the Louisville Zoo for the World’s Largest Halloween Party has helped him grow more confident in overcoming his past shyness over meeting new people.

“Students who had never met me before were asking me questions, and I saw that their communication skills were better than mine were when I was that age,” Jesse said.

Portraying different characters on stage also helped him break out of his shyness, he said. When he talked to Mrs. Brock about teaching, he realized that teachers sometimes use those same skills, by projecting enthusiasm even if they may be having a bad day.

His ability to project enthusiasm is what brought about his job shadow day in the first place. His portrayal of Felonius Gru from the feature cartoon film Despicable Me for a Popcorn Players skit caught the attention of Mrs. Brock. Jesse said she told him how much the students loved his character portrayal and that they would love to see him again. So he set up a day to observe her teaching and visit the students.

Looking back on the day and how the students responded to his storytelling, Jesse said he now feels very confident that he can be a good teacher someday.

“It proved I am capable of doing these things,” Jesse said. “That tells me I’m going down the right path.”

Jesse plans to pursue a degree in elementary education at Indiana University Southeast and is getting an early start by taking some of his general education requirements in the summer sessions.

Mrs. Holifield brings scripts to life

Mrs. Ellen Holifield’s job as theatre teacher, Performing Arts Department chairperson, and theatre director means many long days. Just like a coach, she is busy many evenings and some weekends as she preps her cast for a show. She teaches Theatre I, Advanced Theatre, Musical Theatre Production, and Tech Theatre this semester. She is directly responsible for the production of the spring musical and the Deanery musical as well as the holiday theatre troupe, the Popcorn Players. But her hand is in every show that goes on a Providence stage.

It’s a job she has loved all of her 18 years here, starting right after she earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from Murray State University. (She has since received her master’s in teaching from Spalding University.) Her Musical Theatre Production class, which she co-teachers with Mr. Ron Breedlove, just completed its run of Honk!, but she is already at work finalizing the cast for the spring musical, Freaky Friday. The show will start vocal rehearsals soon, and after Christmas Break, the cast will be hard at work to prepare for the March 8 Premiere Night.

A Q&A with Mrs. Holifield

Question: What do you enjoy most about the productions you oversee?
Answer: I enjoy the entire process of the production. Watching it begin from just a read-through of the script to the final product is always very enjoyable. Seeing the students embrace and develop characters and relationships within the show is great. I always start with a vision of what I think a show will be like, and directing it to come alive is very exciting.

Q: What do you like about teaching theatre?
A: I really enjoy sharing my passion with students. I enjoy working with students who may be new to theatre and taking a class for the first time — it is nice to see them appreciate it and realize that theatre can be fun. I especially enjoy working with the more experienced students, the ones who are a little older and have already discovered their love for the art form. It is fun to collaborate with them and help them grow into strong performers.

Q: Do you have a favorite subject?
A: I enjoy all of the classes I teach. The Musical Theatre Production class that we added a few years ago is fantastic!

Q: Now that you are a PHS parent and teacher, what does that add to the dynamic?
A: All three of my daughters have grown up in the Theatre and coming to Providence, so it is very comfortable for them. My oldest daughter, Mara, is a sophomore. I enjoy having her at school with me. Tessa is in seventh grade at St. Anthony and can’t wait to come to Providence. My youngest, Emma, is in fifth grade at St. Anthony.

Q: What are your goals for the Performing Arts Department as department chair?
A: I would like to see the performing arts continue to grow and strengthen. I would like for our students to continue to gain confidence and experience through the Theatre Program. I would like to continue to produce new works as well as rediscover some older ones. It is great for the students to experience a well-rounded repertoire of shows.

Q: What are you looking forward to with Freaky Friday?
A: Freaky Friday is a brand-new release, so it is very exciting to do something new and to be the first in the area to produce it. Freaky Friday has quite a few roles, which will feature many students. The music is fun and catchy, and the story has a great message. We’ve already auditioned, but I’m still in the process of casting. I can’t wait to get started!

Q: How has PHS Performing Arts grown during your tenure?
A: The performing arts have always thrived at Providence; that was one thing that drew me in. The dedication of our students has always been inspiring, and that has not changed. In my time at Providence, I have really seen the spaces evolve. When I started, the Little Theatre was in Room 209, and now we have an amazing [Ray Day] Little Theatre, where I am able to teach and our students can perform. Also, when I started, the spring musical was in the Koetter Gym, where we had to build a stage along with the scenery that went on it, then carpet, curtain and light the space in order to transform it into a theatre.

Now, we have an amazing facility, The Robinson Auditorium. It’s beautiful, and we are actually in the process of upgrading that. A new curtain was just installed, and now we are in the process of upgrading the lighting system as well. It should be done by our Christmas Spectacular (on Dec. 9). We are also working to upgrade the sound system and install marquee boards. It is so exciting to see the changes!

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I love being a Providence Player!

Note: The Robinson Auditorium is receiving new theatre lighting technology in December to bring the facility up to date since it’s opening more than a decade ago. Upgrades include state-of-the-art energy efficient LED lights that will be less costly to run and easier to maintain. Providence Players will also enjoy being on stage under lights that produce much less heat.

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Fall musical debuts Thursday

Tomorrow, the fall musical Honk! opens, staged by students in the Musical Theatre Production class. The show runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the Ray Day Little Theatre, with a matinee performance on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased online, via email (eholifield@providencehigh.net), or by phone 812-945-2538 x 254. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, but seating is limited.

The cast is looking forward to presenting the musical, which is lighthearted but with a strong message. Senior Regan Elias said she has enjoyed playing Ida, the mother of the main character.

“It’s a role I haven’t gotten to play before,” Regan said. ”I’ve always played a villain or an ensemble character, so to play a mom who is loving and just trying to find her missing son who no one else seems to care about is a welcome change. It’s a really cool way to open a part of acting I’ve never tapped into before.”

The show is family friendly with upbeat music that will appeal to children but with “depth and humor adults can enjoy too,” she said. Audiences will recognize the familiar tale of The Ugly Duckling but appreciate the new songs, which help bring out the personality of the different characters.

“I think audiences will appreciate the uniqueness of voices and songs within the show,” Regan said.

Senior Jesse Zoeller, who plays Cat, said he is enjoying the chance to play an antagonist. As he always does before portraying a character, he watched a movie to get insight into his character’s motivation. For the role of Cat, he watched the movie It and was inspired by the evil character Pennywise, particularly his smile.

“It’s really creepy, but it’s something the cat would do because he’s slimy,” Jesse said.

The message of the musical is positive, however, and Jesse said he thinks audiences will be able to relate to the theme that our differences make each of us special and unique rather than merely different than the crowd.

Sophomore Victor Beeler plays the main character, Ugly, and he said he enjoyed toying with various ways to portray his character and his wide range of emotions. He believes audiences will like the show because it will tug at their heart strings while also being comical.

“It’s very heartwarming,” Victor said. “It’s also a very funny show, and they’ll get a lot of laughs.”

Senior Ross Reyes, who plays Bullfrog, said he likes that the songs are catchy while also being “full of emotion,” from Ugly’s song about feeling left out to his character’s song, “Warts and All,” about “being proud of who you are.”

Sophomore Kieran Kelly plays the military commander Graylag the goose, said he was surprised at the depth of the story and its message.

“I thought coming in that it was just happy go lucky,” Kieran said. “But it has a lot of themes and messages in it that are pretty important.”

This is the third year that a fall musical has been staged as part of the Musical Theatre Production class, which gives sophomores through seniors a chance to prepare for the spring musical. Regan said putting on a full-length show with rehearsals primarily in class time actually has more time constraints than one might think.

“Preparing for a show during class time is kind of stressful,” she said. “The cast has to work fast and under a pressure that none of us have really felt before. It’s way different than preparing a show in scheduled time outside of school. Although it is stressful, it is fun to develop a show with the amazing people in our class.”

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House Student Leader Profile: Truth

Seniors Griffin Rogers and Lauren Tomlin have different approaches when it comes to leading the House of Truth as senior executive delegates. But it provides a good balance, Griffin said.

“I like to lead by example, but I can sometimes take charge,” Griffin said, noting that he likes to focus on morale boosting. “Lauren is more vocal and more in charge.”

Griffin said he likes to build up the spirit of the House members, just like he did for the Boys Soccer team. At House meetings, he brings a positive outlook, and he often sends email encouraging his fellow members to participate in events.

Lauren agrees it is more her leadership style to call be more vocal and to call everyone to attention at House meetings.

“I like helping out my House and having everything in order,” she said. “I help bring order to my House and help take pressure off the adults.”

Griffin, who was previously the junior events coordinator for his House, also is a Student Ambassador and recently finished his third season on the Boys Soccer team. Lauren, who previously was a sophomore and junior delegate for the House, also is on the Swim & Dive team for her fourth season and is a first-year member of Green Dot. Both share a love of theatre. Griffin is in Honk!, the fall musical produced by the Musical Theatre Production class and had a lead in the fall show. Both will be in the upcoming spring musical, Freaky Friday.

Lauren said she likes being involved in leadership, theatre, and athletics because it widens her circle of friends.

“I get to meet a variety of kids and make a variety of friendships and do what I love while spending time with those friends,” she said. “It’s like different little families because of the different things I do.”

Outside of school, Griffin said he likes to write poetry and journal, spend time outdoors, and practice shooting his crossbow, which was a Christmas gift his eighth grade year after his success at archery at CYO camp.

Griffin hopes to attend college at Bellarmine University, Ball State University, or Hanover College. He is undecided on his major. Lauren is deciding between Purdue University, Indiana University-Bloomington, the University of Louisville, and Indiana University Southeast. She plans to major in elementary education because she wants to “help shape future minds.”

Lauren said she has enjoyed being a leader in the House of Truth the last few years. As a sophomore, she mainly listened to ideas and suggestions for her House, but by her junior year, she was able to share her own ideas in her role as a junior on the SEAC board, made up of junior and senior House delegates. Now as a senior, her role involves listening to everyone’s ideas and consider them.

“It’s really interesting getting everyone’s point of view,” she said.

The House of Truth is again planning an all-school service project for the Christmas season in which the Houses will be challenged to adopt the most families from the local Angel Tree program.

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German thespian students visit PHS

Last week, our students had the opportunity to interact with 19 European acting students who attend school at Goldberg-Gymnasium (high school) in Sindelfingen, Germany. The visiting students stayed with several Providence host families and attended classes for part of the day over two days last week as well as produced the German play Biedermann and The Fire-Raisers by Max Frisch.

This is the third time a group has visited from Goldberg-Gymnasium, thanks to one of their teachers, Ms. Krista Eichler, a former neighbor of school archivist Mr. Ray Day ’57. Providence was only one of the stops on their visit, which included Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, and Alabama. PHS was the only local school on their trip. 

Theatre teacher Mrs. Ellen Holifield was pleased to be able to introduce our students to a different type of theatre.

“This is a great cultural experience for our students to see how the arts are produced in other countries,” she said.

Junior Stephen Wilson said he enjoyed hosting a student because he had the chance to talk to someone from a different country. He also liked watching their play and experiencing German theatre, which he found “very interesting and thought provoking.”

Senior Emma Rauck hosted four girls and said she too enjoyed learning about life in Germany and the differences in their high schools. She was surprised when they described German people as cold because she found the girls “really kind and sweet,” she said. She gave them a taste of American life by taking them on their first visit to a Target store, which they really liked.

She also enjoyed being able to discuss the differences in American and German theatre. The visiting students watched the matinee performance of The Enchanted Bookshop and told her they found the cute, lighthearted show about storybook characters who come to life “a little odd” because their country’s theatre is more serious and typically includes a political or other message for audiences to ponder and discuss.

Emma said she watched both performances of the students’ play, which gave her a chance to see the girls she hosted switch roles.

“I just liked seeing how different ones brought out their character,” she said. “Overall, it (hosting the students) was fun.”

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Children’s show debuts Oct. 26

This weekend, the freshman and sophomore Providence Players will present The Enchanted Bookshop, a children’s play performed in the Robinson Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $5 at the door.

The cast is looking forward to the show, especially the matinee next Monday morning when Deanery school children will attend the special performance. Sophomore Rosie Kempf plays Marge, the bookshop owner and lead character. Rosie said playing the lead is a bit intimidating because so many other actors depend on her getting her lines right, but she’s still enjoying herself.

“It’s a little bit scary, but it’s fun at the same time,” Rosie said.

Sophomore Josh Russell said he shares the same feelings. He plays the character Sherlock Holmes, one of the book characters that come to life when the store is closed, and the role is his first lead. He said it is more challenging to be one of the main characters, but he is relishing it at the same time.

“I enjoy being in the spotlight a little bit and being up there right next to my friends who are also up there in main roles as well.”

For much of the cast, being able to be on stage with their friends and having a common purpose make the experience even more enjoyable.

Sophomore Anna Isler plays Heidi, the storybook character who grew up on the Swiss Alps with her grandfather. Anna was unfamiliar with the tale but is having fun portraying her as “a German girl who hits people with flowers,” she said.

“I get to be crazy on stage, and hang out with my friends,” Anna said.

Sophomore Mara Holifield also was unfamiliar with the story of her character, Pollyanna, but she enjoys portraying her because she is “fun and super peppy,” she said.

Sophomore Kieran Kelly plays Robin Hood and said he likes being in the show because it is a chance “for the sophomores and the freshmen to experience what Providence theatre really is” – and to showcase their talents since most other shows often have lead roles played by older students.

For Kieran, Anna, and Josh, having a lead role in the show has another challenge – rehearsing for a second show at the same time. They are all also in the Musical Theatre Production class, which is staging the musical Honk! Nov. 8-11.

Josh, who also plays Father Swan in Honk!, said he is handling balancing the two shows without any trouble, noting that he does have more spoken lines in The Enchanted Bookshop. Anna, however, said having to learn lines and portray two different characters can be “overwhelming at times, but it’s fun,” especially because she gets to spend more time with her friends.

Kieran agrees.

“It’s a little stressful, but it’s a lot of fun,” Kieran said. “I just really enjoy theatre, and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be being in two shows at once.”

The cast is especially looking forward to the Monday Deanery performance when the audience will be mainly children grades four and under.

“I really like seeing familiar faces from the school where I went (OLPH) or schools I’ve been in and seeing those kids enjoy something that I’m doing,” Josh said.

Anna agrees.

“Playing a character for them is fun because you get to make them happy,” Anna said.

But it’s not just the children who will enjoy it, Mara said.

“It’s good for all audiences because it’s fun,” Mara said. “Little kids will enjoy it but so will the adults.”

Here is a full cast list
Director: Patrick Holifield
Marge – Rosie Kempf
Bombalurina – Sami Mayrose
Mom – Abby Hanlon
Timmy – Jack Kaiser
Robin Hood – Kieran Kelly
Tom Sawyer – Aaron Burke
Sherlock Holmes – Josh Russell
Dorothy – Gillian Evans
Heidi – Anna Isler
Pollyanna – Mara Holifield
Book Fairy – Cai Celestin
Lady in Red – Beth Wimsatt
Fagin – Kayla Badon
Long John Silver – Jacob Russell
Officer Ketchum – Brooklyn Stocksdale
Officer Releasum – Sydney LaMaster
Fingers – Jack Kaiser
Edie (Eddie) – Ryker Williams
Doctor Dolittle – Katie Riggs
Queen of Hearts – Pennelope Trinkle
Toto – Icelynn Richey
Wicked Witch of the West – Sarah Boehm
Hopalong Cassidy – Katelyn Phillips

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Students perform at zoo’s Halloween party

If you take any little ones to the Louisville Zoo’s World’s Largest Halloween Party this weekend, look for Wreck it Ralph and Peter Pan, characters portrayed by two of our students. Senior Jesse Zoeller is Wreck It Ralph, and junior Luke Rodski is Peter Pan. Sophomore Mara Holifield was a substitute for the regular character playing Doroty one weekend.  Jesse and Luke have been working each weekend at the zoo throughout October and will continue through this weekend. 

Both students are active in Providence theatre, but this was the first acting gig outside of school for Luke. He said he enjoyed the chance to improvise lines every night, although it could be a challenge to stay in character for four hours – all without knowing what the next group of children will say. He also found it rewarding when some of the visitors reacted strongly to seeing his character.’

“There’s always that one kid who’s been waiting all night to see Peter Pan, and they run around the corner and run up to you like, ‘Peter Pan!’” he said. “It’s really a wholesome feeling.”

Jesse has acted in two shows on the New Albany RiverStage in addition to taking part in several Providence productions. He has a lead role as the antagonist in the upcoming fall musical  and is in rehearsals for Popcorn Players and Providence Singers. He said he likes working at the zoo because it helps him push his acting abilities and allows him to meet more people in local theatre.

“It helps me exceed my ability in acting and acting in character,” Jesse said.

Although Jesse does have to remain in character for the duration of each night at the zoo, not having to memorize lines has helped in manage playing and preparing for several roles in different performances in the same time period.
“Being part of the zoo and giving one hundred percent effort to school and extracurriculars is a bit of a challenge, but I’ve been able to manage my time well,” he said.

Luke, who also is in Popcorn Players, said that doing so much improvisational work at the zoo has helped him as he rehearses for the Christmas troupe’s upcoming season. And he’ll have a similar chance to make children happy.

Sophomore Mara Holifield, second from left, poses with her sisters and other cast members on the night she worked as a stand-in.

“Popcorn Players has that same kind of magic you get performing for them (children) at the zoo,” Luke said.

 

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Sophomore loves to help others

Sophomore Beth Wimsatt already has nearly four times the necessary amount of service hours to meet her graduation requirement. But she has no plans to stop helping others. She is a member of the New Albany Deanery Youth Ministry Action Team (YMAT) and is involved at her parish, St. Mary of the Knobs, from volunteering at the parish fish fry to babysitting during Bible study sessions. What she has most enjoyed, though, are the summer camps and mission trips she has been involved in.

The summer before her freshman year, she participated in the New Albany Deanery Catholic Youth Ministries Faith in Action, a four-day mission trip that provides local service opportunities. This past summer, she traveled to Campton, Ky., on the Wolfe Pack Mission Trip to provide service to the Appalachian community. She also spent a week as a counselor for the first time at Camp Marian on the grounds of the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception and run by the Sisters of St. Benedict.

Her Camp Marian service was a new opportunity to return to the camp that she had attended as a participant for the previous three summers. Beth first found out about the four-day camp for middle school girls from a family friend, and the two were signed up to attend when her friend couldn’t go at the last minute. Beth said she was initially afraid that she would not have any fun without her friend, but she soon met new friends that she continues to connect with today.

“You really form a bond with everybody there from canoeing, swimming, and walking around the property,” Beth said. “You just have fun.”

The girls camp out in tents near the lake and take part in a number of activities, including archery and crafts. After having so much fun the first summer, Beth returned for two more sessions. This past summer, she chose to return in the only way she could – as a leader. She said being a camp counselor added a new dimension to the experience.

“It’s almost more fun to lead it,” Beth said. “You get to get there a day earlier and have lunch and dinner with the Sisters and experience their lifestyle. (I also liked) just getting to know the other counselors and getting to help others have fun.”

Beth, second from left, rehearses a scene from Honk! during Musical Theatre Production class.

Beth said she plans to continue helping others, something she learned from her mom and older sister. She knows her service hours exceed what’s required, but she doesn’t serve to rack up hours.

“It’s not for the numbers, but it’s just counting what I already do,” she said. “It’s just something I love to do now.”

Of her current service activities, Beth is active in YMAT and said she enjoys planning activities for Deanery youth. Not only is it satisfying to create opportunities for middle schoolers to “build their connection to their faith,” but she also has made close friendships with other teens on the YMAT board.

Beth also is on the JV Girls Soccer team and is active in theatre. She will play the role of the Lady in Red in the children’s show, The Enchanted Bookshop, which will be performed Oct. 26-27 , and the role of JayBird in Honk!, a musical adaptation of The Ugly Duckling put on by the PHS Musical Theater Production Class Nov. 8-11.

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