By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — Seventeen Pope John XXIII Regional High School students have earned induction into the International Thespian Society, the honor society for secondary school theatre students, for their efforts in theatre and performing arts during the 2016-2017 school year.
Each of the 17 Pope John students “completed over 100 hours of quality work in theatre arts and related disciplines,” the organization said in a letter to the school.
The 17 students were Margaret Butler, Kayla Brutosky, Brendan Dillon, Robert Kerwick, Zachary Kessler, Victoria Kunesch, Molly Liu, Bradley Mackie, Christopher Masciarelli, Lauren Masserella, Edward May, Morgan Myles, James O’Brien, Adriana Purcell, Brendan Schuldner, Melissa Spillane and Matthew Tumminello.
“I am so thrilled and proud that 16 of our students were inducted,” Pope John XXIII Regional High School President and Principal Father McHugh said. “It is such an important part of their lives and important to our school.”
“This was really big for us,” Pope John XXIII Regional High School history and performing arts teacher Mrs. Jacquelyn Burt said. “It was our first year being a part of this society, so it is exciting to have 17 of our kids recognized for all of the hard work that they put into all of our productions.”
Founded in 1929, ITS is the student honorary division of the Educational Theatre Association, the professional association for theatre education. ITS serves over 4,700 schools around the world and has an active student membership of more than 125,000.
Mrs. Burt said Pope John had to apply to become a “troupe” for the organization back in 2015, using past plays such as Othello and Sweeney Todd as evidence that the school produced great enough work to become a chapter. When they got accepted for the 2016-2017 year, Mrs. Burt documented all the work the Pope John Players — the school’s club for performing arts — did while it performed shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Sister Act.
Because of their efforts, the 17 Pope John students join the ranks of over 2.3 million Thespians and Thespian alumni, including Jane Lynch, John Goodman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tom Hanks.
“It’s nice to see the kids become part of this,” Mrs. Burt said. “They’ve put in an incredible amount of work, sometimes three hours a day, five days a week, all while managing their heavy academic schedules and other activities they are involved in. It’s pretty cool.”
“This is wonderful,” Father McHugh said. “I hope everyone takes note that we have such a wonderful performing arts program here at Pope John.”