PJ students to kick off Catholic Schools Week with 'Godspell' musical

By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
anthonyspaulding@popejohn.org

SPARTA — Catholic Schools Week begins on Sunday, but 13 students representing Pope John XXIII Regional High School and Pope John XXIII Middle School will kick off the week-long celebration of Catholic education a day earlier and in a big way.

These students will be presenting the musical “Godspell” on Saturday at 1 and 4 p.m. at Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School’s McKenna Hall.

The students are excited to put on this performance because it is a unique way to start Catholic Schools Week.

“It’s really cool to kick off Catholic Schools Week by doing this play,” Pope John eighth-grade student Shane Elvin said Wednesday during practice. “Usually, we go to church or do a prayer service. But, this allows us to show people Jesus’ teachings in a proper, but fun way.”

“It’s great,” Pope John seventh-grade student Summer Guerrini said. “We’ve never done a play like this. We thought it would be important to let people know that we are learning about God and how it feels to be a follower of Jesus and spread His teachings.”

The students are presenting the adaption from “Godspell JR.,” which is about Jesus’ teachings told through parables in modern day New York City.  The original 1970s musical, composed by Stephen Schwartz, was also on Broadway and it was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score.

Pope John XXIII Middle School music teacher and play director Mrs. Deborah O’Brien said the students have worked really hard preparing for this play because this is their first “junior high” play.

“This was something they asked me to do last year after our spring play,” O’Brien said. “They have been excited about it and have been putting in the time to make this a great show.”

The students also want to make this show a great one because it is in memory of Laurie DiCianni, the former youth minister for Our Lady of the Lake Church. DiCianni passed away in November.

“She was beloved here,” O’Brien said. “The kids wanted to do something to help remember her.”

As they do their last-minute rehearsals and preparations for their two shows on Saturday, the students are looking forward to perform under the bright lights. More importantly, they can’t wait to jump-start the festivities for the biggest celebration in Catholic education.

“This is a nice warm welcome to Catholic Schools Week,” Guerrini said.

 If you go...

What: Pope John XXIII Middle School presents “Godspell”

When: Saturday, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Where: Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School’s McKenna Hall

Cost: Tickets are $10 for adults/$5 for students. Children ages 4 and under are free on an adult’s lap. For tickets, please contact katie.elvin@yahoo.com or purchase them at the door. 

Info: The play will kick off the school’s Catholic Schools Week celebration. It is also in memory of Laurie DiCianni, a former youth minister for Our Lady of the Lake Church who passed away in November. A portion of the proceeds will be donated in her name. 

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