Theatre, Trips and Clubs, Oh My!


Olivia Catelani

As you finish up your classes, turn in your semester project, and start studying for finals, I’m sure that the last thing you’re thinking about right now is coming back to Pres in August. But, for those of you who will be counting down the days until school starts again, here are some cool things to look forward to.

In March, director Mr. Houle announced the two musicals for next year: Beauty and the Beast and High School Musical.

For the past two years, the Presentation Theater Department has put on adult themed musicals, which have restricted the age of the audience. Houle wanted to make the program more diverse and family friendly by producing these two shows.

“I consider it comfort food,” says Houle. “Beauty and the Beast and High School Musical are two shows that most of my students have grown up with.”

Since expectations for these musicals are pretty standard, Houle says he won’t place too many twists on them. Since Pres did Beauty and the Beast around 10 years ago, the only twists will be changing the style of the characters to give this production a different vibe.

Another change will be that most of the roles in this show will be female, to make up for the lack of male interest in auditions. This includes roles such as Cogsworth, Lumiere, and Chip, as well as the characters of LeFou and Monsieur D’Arque.

“Obviously Gaston has to be a boy, the Beast has to be a boy and the dad has to be a boy,” says Houle, “But after that, whether a fork is a boy or a girl, I think that’s open to interpretation.”

For those who don’t enjoy singing and dancing, they can still participate in next year’s drama, 1984, based on the popular novel by George Orwell. Houle was unable to announce this production in March with the musicals, due to wariness from the administration.

“They were nervous that I might go too political with it because of a lot of parallels to what may or may not be going in the modern world,” says Houle.

For the rising stars in the community, Houle’s biggest piece of advice is to get involved in the International Thespian Society Club (ITS). The students who are a part of ITS put on four productions a year, and even the most novice performers can participate.

“It doesn’t take the time that a musical takes,” says Houle. “If you’re in the concert you can work on just one song and then get out there and really have that performance experience.”

Those interested in traveling over the summer can look forward to two new trips, one of which is a research trip to Nicaragua.

Led by Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Twiddy, the trip is a seven day visit to the Masaya Volcano, an active volcano with a lava pool below. Students on the trip will not only be taking samples, collecting, entering, and analyzing data at the Masaya Volcano, they will also be studying butterfly populations.

The students will also be learning about the acid rain problem in the area due to the material outgassing from the volcano. “There is a huge community-led citizen scientist project,” says Twiddy, “So I am interested to know how it is impacting the community and how it is impacting science.”

The second trip being offered next summer is an Ireland trip to learn more and connect with the history of the Presentation Sisters and our school.

The trip will be led by Mr. Case and include a visit Nano Nagle’s home and birthplace and the site where the order was founded. Students will also enjoy a dinner with the Sisters and a day-long retreat at the Nano Nagle Heritage Center.

“The retreat and being able to experience, in some ways, the history of the school is the highlight for me,” says Case. “I’ve been to Ireland before and I’ve seen what Ireland has to offer, but the highlight for me is definitely connecting with the sisters.”

There will also be some updates to campus over the summer. While the Master Plan needs a couple of years to work its way through the city before any major updates and construction can take place, students can look forward to a few cosmetic changes around campus.

The biggest update to Pres next year will be the news iPad Pros and the technology that comes with them, like the Apple Pencil and Apple Classroom.

In addition to the iPad conversion, more rooms in the main building will be converted to look like the rooms in the 200 building. “We’re going to finish the South Hall,” says Ms. Miller. “Then we’re also going to do room 11 and start moving in on that side of the building.”

Speaking of the North Hall, room 10 will be getting a major makeover over the summer. In order to make the space more useful, it will be converted into a science lab that Chemistry and Biology classes can use, similar to the one in room seven.

“It has water but it doesn’t have gas,” says Miller. “We’re connecting the gas line there, swapping out all the furniture, flooring, and painting.”

The shower room next to the pool will also be re-floored so that it slants differently, preventing water from puddling in the corners.

“By Pres standards it’s pretty small when you consider that sometimes we put on new roofs,” says Miller. “We’re pretty much just doing maintenance projects and projects that we need to do, but in two years you’re going to see major repair.”

There will also be four clubs introduced next year, two of which are cultural clubs.

Latin X and The Asian Student Union are the first two specific cultural clubs in the history of Pres. With these two clubs comes the Cultural Student Union, a place where all cultural clubs, those who want to create a cultural club, and those interested in different cultures can meet and come together.

The other two clubs are an Anime and Manga Club and a Chess Club. Anime and Manga is a new club to Pres, while the Chess Club is one that has appeared a few times throughout the years.

More on these clubs?

With the addition of four clubs comes the loss of four clubs. Of course, the International Cultures Club will be leaving, due to the higher interest in the species cultural groups.

Healthy Habits will also be leaving, due to a loss of interest. More clubs are also integrating their own healthy habits, so the club no longer has a super unique aspect.

The Red Cross Club will no longer exist as a formal club, but events like the Blood Drive and the Shake Out for Earthquake Awareness will still be held. CI will take over the disaster awareness and service aspect of the old club.

Lastly, Fashion Club will be leaving next year. Fashion Show was originally created by two students who were very passionate and wanted to add Student Designers to the Fashion Show. Since then, fewer Student Designers have been coming from the club itself, and with Mrs. Purdy retiring this year, the club no longer has the amount of interest in it that it did before.