Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of Parent Club, our students have had many opportunities to view live theater this school year. Classrooms have been to Playhouse Square to see performances like The Diary of Anne Frank, Darius & Twig, Hansel & Gretel, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and upcoming productions of The Gruffalo and Guess How Much I Love You. Some classes have been to the Beck Center for the productions of Snow White, featuring some of their fellow classmates. Viewing live theater is so different from watching a movie or a video. Live theater involves not only the actors and actresses on stage, but also the audience too- much different from television. I remember very distinctly being able to look into the actors’ eyes at a recent play where our seating just happened to be front row. I could see them blinking and felt them looking directly back and speaking to me! There was a true connection. I thought about the fact that the reaction of an audience toward the actors really affects their performance.
This past Friday, I was able to bring a live performance of Great Lakes Theater’s Huck Finn to St. Mark’s for the students in Grades 3-8. This performance was based on the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain. It is considered to be one of his greatest triumphs. The students enjoyed the production, and they engaged well with the actors. We are very blessed to enable our students to experience such wonderful programs.
Congratulations go out to our 71 Confirmandi who received the Sacrament of Confirmation last week. Throughout this time of preparation, these students were expected to meet within their small parent-led Confirmation groups to discuss faith-related topics and perform acts of service both within the St. Mark Community and beyond. Many of our students did out-of-parish acts of service at places that served community meals, including St. Pat’s and with the St. Ignatius’ Labre Program. They volunteered at the APL and the May Dugan Center, doing some housekeeping. Their in-parish service was performed doing outside yard work, helping teachers after school, concession stand work, assisting with the Giving Tree, cleaning St. Mark Church, and changing out the worship hymnals we use every week. The list of service projects performed could go on and on. Each student maintained a journal of their experiences, where they were asked to reflect on what they got out of their experiences. Some of their reflections include:
- “I learned first-hand that there is a need for generous people willing to help weekly because there are so many people in need.”
- “I learned that life is precious. We need to stop taking it for granted.”
- “We need to help the less fortunate by giving back what we have.”
- “Seeing all the food that was going to people in need really humbled me and made me realize how lucky I am.”
- “I learned how much time teachers spend after school tutoring, doing extra-curriculars, and getting ready for the next day. I am blessed to be at a school that gives me such a great education.”
- “I am very thankful that the parish, Parent Club, and students help make St. Mark a great place to learn.”
- “It was actually quite miraculous how a dog in a cage just waiting for any attention went to the most happy dog you’ve ever seen, just from the little love from one person.”
- “It feels good to help others.”
I pray that God continues to do his great work in these young adults as they continue their journey through life. They bring inspiration to me daily.