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Before students at St. James Catholic Regional School celebrate Easter, they will recognize the events that preceded the joyful holiday.
Eighth-graders at St. James will perform the story of the Passion, which follows the days leading up to and the act of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, today at 9 a.m. for the school and 7 p.m. for the community at St. James Catholic Church.
The play is a school tradition, dating back 15 or 20 years. Each year, the eighth-grade class spends months preparing to perform the play before Easter. Though the play mostly features eighth-graders, it’s a school-wide effort. Parent Carol Zagar directs, costumes are made by a parent and sets are designed by the school’s art teacher. Some seventh-graders work with sound and technical aspects and primary students perform children’s roles in the play.
Eighth-grade religion teacher Julie McKean has worked with the play the last two years.
“We try to treat it as a prayer,” she said.
The play is one of the final events eighth-grade students take part in before moving on to high school.
“We kind of talk to the kids about that it’s their gift to the school and to the parish,” McKean said.
Students at the school watch the play every year and look forward to participating when they enter their final year at the school.
“The funny thing is they know what part they want,” McKean said, chuckling.
Student Chris Bramlett plays Peter, and McKean said he wanted to play the role of the apostle from the beginning. He even spoke to Sister Michael Marie Friedman, the school’s principal, about it.
“I’ve just always wanted to be him because I feel like Peter is an important part” of the play, Bramlett said.
The importance of the role also is one of the reasons Sean Collins decided to play the role of Judas, but he also admitted having fewer lines to memorize was an appealing aspect, too.
During the last day of rehearsals before the big day, student Ivy Carrico, who plays Jude, was confident about today’s performances.
“I think we have it down pat,” she said.
Carrico said performing the play is an important service the eighth-graders provide for younger students.
“We get to like show them what Jesus went through and everything,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.