INTERNATIONAL NIGHT RETURNS
The rich diversity of Saint Peter’s community was on display at the school’s fifth annual International Night on April 30. Students, parents, and faculty were thrilled to see one of the school’s most popular events return after it was unfortunately cancelled in 2021.
This year, the event was held outside. Host families set up informative displays and proudly shared information about a specific country. Attendees received paper passports and were able to collect stickers as they visited each country display. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed an evening sampling delicious food, learning different countries around the world and socializing with friends.
'JOSEPH’ AT SAINT PETER'S BRINGS MUSIC, SMILES
By Joe Howard Our Parish Times, May2022 Edition
An athlete trying his hand at theatre took the lead in Saint Peter’s Catholic School’s production of “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which tells the biblical story of a boy expelled from Canaan by jealous brothers only to rise to prominence in Egypt and later help his family.
Football and lacrosse player Reese Dickerson impressed in the title role, supported in the school’s largest-ever production by show director Phyllis Bottegal and music director Peter Nguyen.
“It’s very exciting,” seventh-grader Dickerson said of playing Joseph. “You’ve got to take on a lot of leadership. You’ve got to dedicate yourself.”
Dickerson and fellow seventh-grader Andrew Chipperfield – who played oldest brother Reuben – earlier had impressed the show directors singing “God Bless America” during morning announcements, a preview of what they’d bring to the show.
“A rock opera is an entirely sung show,” said Bottegal, the school’s drama teacher. She credited the efforts of the cast and Nguyen in learning those songs. “It was a lot of fun, but it was hard,” she said.
Music teacher Nguyen noted pandemic-related regulations steered the production, including “teaching the acting and seeing expressions that are half-covered” by masks. Nguyen credited everyone – including the set, costume and hair and makeup teams – for staying focused. “The kids have been great,” he said. “There are some long nights.”
While drama productions are normally reserved for seventh- and eighth-graders, the demands of the musical and dance numbers compelled the invitation of fourth- through sixth-graders to participate.
Eighth-grader Ryan Ikwuemesi brought laughs as the Pharaoh of Egypt, delivering a hip-shaking version of “Song of the King” in a sequined jumpsuit fit for a King (of Rock and Roll). Georgie Sardelis signing “Those Canaan Days” as Simeon and Kasey Hartwick with Judah’s rendition of “Benjamin’s Calypso” were other lively solos.
Advancing the story were Gabriella Loudermilk and Demi Stroms as the Narrators, handling heavy doses of lyrics and choreography in harmony.
“These kids were so proud of themselves,” said producer Lauren DeZinno, the school’s Spanish teacher. “You could hear them chanting ‘Go, go Joe,’ and cheering for themselves. It was heartwarming.”
SAINT PETER'S ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT
Danielle Trotta, Saint Peters Class of 1998, Middle School Science Teacher, Holy Redeemer Catholic School
Jacqueline Trotta, Saint Peters Class of 2002, Pre-K Teacher, Saint Peter's Catholic School
Saint Peter’s connection:
The Trotta’s have been parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish for 33 years. Danielle, Jacqueline and their younger brother, Nicholas (Class of 2006) each attended St. Peter’s School from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Favorite memory from my time at Saint Peters:
Danielle: My favorite memory was field day in 8th grade. Being an 8th grader, we looked forward to being team captains. I remember having so much fun making our banner, coming up with our cheer, and having a blast with all of the events. At the end, we all signed each other’s shirts.
Jacqueline: When I think back to my time at St. Peter’s, two memories stand out the most. In 3rd grade, Mrs. Baka would take any opportunity to read us the Magic School Bus series. She LOVED the book series and always dressed up as Ms. Frizzle for Halloween! Secondly, being a part of the first drama production the school produced, with Mrs. Bottegal. I played the role of a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz (performed in the Parish Hall). It was a wonderful experience!
Biggest influence influences during your time at Saint Peter’s:
Danielle: Mrs. Tagarsee influenced me the most. She was my middle school math and science teacher. She taught me so much, both academic as well as life lessons. She always told me that I would become a math and science teacher. I never believed her, as I had other career ambitions, but all along, she was right. I wish I could personally thank her for everything she has done.
Jacqueline: One person that influenced me during my time at St. Peter’s was my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Baka. The impression that she left while reading to the class instilled in me the joy that I have today when I read to my class. She did not only “read” the book to us; she became the story. Mrs. Baka made learning fun. I am so grateful to have had her as my teacher. Another teacher who influenced me was my middle school Math teacher, Mrs. Convey. Even though math was not my strong suit, she always gave me the confidence that I needed to push through.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Danielle: Being a student, within the Archdiocese of Washington (St. Peter’s and Good Counsel) has set me on the path to where I am today. Because of that, I wanted to be able to give back to the community that helped shape me.
Jacqueline: From an early age teaching was always something I wanted to do. Specifically, working with younger children. I was fortunate enough to start my educational career here at St. Peter’s. I started as paraeducator for 4 years, before becoming a lead teacher in Pre-K. I have enjoyed being a part of the St. Peter’s community for the past 12 years. St. Peter’s feels like my second home!
AFTER SCHOOL DANCE CLASS GETS KIDS MOVING
By: Jane Bornhorst, Our Parish Times, March 2022 Edition
Every Monday, a group of K-5th grade girls and boys stay after school to dance with the Panthers Dancers at Saint Peter’s School in Olney. “It’s nonstop moving. There’s no sitting down,” laughs Mrs. Cron, middle school language arts teacher and parent at Saint. Peter’s.
The youngsters have a great time and move their bodies, which is the goal, she says. “Some kids aren’t into sports, so I want them to have an outlet where they’re moving and healthy,” she says. “Of course, some of them like both sports and dance!”
Mrs. Cron founded and taught a similar program at St. Jane Frances de Chantal School for 15 years before coming to Saint Peter’s in 2021.
The Panthers stretch using ballet techniques and dance in the pop and jazz styles, with elements of musical theater choreography mixed in. At the end of the eight-week program, the students perform in a showcase for their families, dancing to songs like “Hard Knock Life” from the musical Annie and Disney movie favorites.
The dance program is offered every quarter for K-5, and Panther Dancers Pro is available for middle schoolers during part of the year.
Second grader Quinn Burritt loves being a part of the troupe. “We get to stay after school and listen to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” and we dance and we laugh,” she says. “Mrs. Cron is really nice and she’s a really good dancer.”
Mrs. Cron says it is one of her favorite parts of teaching. “They’re the cutest kids ever. The class is a ray of sunshine in my week. It’s a really fun way to show your Panther pride.”
St. Peter’s principal says role ‘is one of greatest’ of his career
The Greater Olney News profiled Saint Peter's Principal Mr. Vincent Spadoni in the March 16, 2022 edition
Vincent Spadoni has spent his “life’s work,” as he calls it, serving Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
By Robin Vanderpool, Our Parish Times, March 2022 Edition
Like other school communities across America, Saint Peter’s students celebrated Black History Month in February. One specific activity included fourth and fifth graders in Ms. Morgan Duffy’s Social Studies classes researching and writing a report on notable African Americans. Each student was asked to investigate important dates and landmarks, childhood and adult milestones, and professional achievements for their assigned African American leader and write an accompanying report that summarized what they learned about the individual.
For example, fifth grader Shaw Vanderpool researched the life and accomplishments of John Lewis, a civil rights leader who served in Congress representing the state of Georgia for 17 terms until his death in 2020. When asked about the assignment, Shaw commented: “It was really interesting to learn about John Lewis’ dedication to public service, his friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his involvement in the March on Washington in 1963. I am glad that my classmates and I were able to learn more about African American leaders and Black History Month.”
David Duggan, a fourth grader, reported on Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. The significance of Jackie Robinson’s trailblazing career is highlighted by the fact that the number 42 has been retired across all MLB teams. David shared that he “really liked learning about Jackie Robinson, especially all of his personal and professional achievements such as serving in the military, winning the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955, and his commitment to civil rights.” Both Shaw and David noted that their assigned notable African Americans were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In reflecting on the assignment, Ms. Duffy commented, “During the month of February I try to share with my students the many ways that African Americans have significantly influenced our society. Many of our students know about certain individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris, but individuals like Arthur Ashe, Mae Jemison, Wilma Rudolph, and so many more also deserve the recognition and credit for transforming our society in such a positive way."
INAUGURAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING BRINGS CHEER TO SCHOOL COMMUNITY