Local News Archive
Print Issue: February 4, 1999
OLA Stars Shine On The Stage
By Priscilla Greear
ATLANTA--Faculty, students and parents of Our Lady of the Assumption School, Atlanta, join together to form the community-spirited O.L.A. Stars drama program, spreading the belief that every student is a unique and talented child of God.
The group completed its fifth production, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," in November 1998. Other performances, which are announced in the spring and performed each November, have included "Annie," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "You're A Grand Old Flag" and "Fractured Fairy Tales," which was written and produced by students.
With the support of principal Joan Tiernan and parish pastor Father Jim McGoldrick, SM, the program presently includes 160 students with any level of experience, representing every class from kindergarten through eighth grade. Students participate in a variety of ways including set design and construction, acting, singing and working the lights and sound system.
"Our Lady of the Assumption School's children have benefited greatly from their participation in our school play," said Tiernan. "The students develop lifelong skills of effective communication, working within a group, trying new endeavors and meeting new challenges. The camaraderie and friendship of the students from kindergarten through eighth grade are evident in the successful theatrical event within the context of our Catholic school."
Participating faculty include Kathy McCaffrey, who has been involved with children's drama for over 20 years teaching drama, creative movement and other aspects of youth productions, and music teacher Linda Marie Johnson. Also assisting are administrative assistant Karol Smith, who has worked five years as a dance teacher and choreographer, science teacher Peggy Dobson, the production manager for the last two productions, and development director Sharon Black, who is the photographer for each production.
Parental involvement is an essential part of the production as they assist with supervision, costume design, volunteer coordination and the cast party.
"We could never enjoy such a wonderful production without the support of the parish, school, students and, most of all, fabulous parents," McCaffrey said. "We are fortunate enough to even have former parents and grandparents to support our effort."
Barbara Rowley is one of those parents who, having two daughters that have participated in the O.L.A. Stars, has volunteered extensively with set design.
"Being involved in the play has definitely benefited my daughters in many ways," she said. "It is a school activity where all ages are welcomed and work together. My youngest daughter remembers the older children making her feel very special through their encouragement. One of my daughters enjoyed working back stage and the other on stage. It makes them realize what it takes to put on a production of this size and that the actors on stage are just one part of the whole."
Her daughter Elisabeth, a seventh grader, described her enthusiasm for drama.
"I think the play is a great chance for everyone at the school to work together and produce something fun and enjoyable," she said.
OLA STARS -- Nearly one-third of the
student body at Our Lady of the Assumption School, Atlanta, participates in the
dramatic troupe, the OLA Stars, in some capacity. The annual productions build
confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment. Holding props from The
Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever and Charlie and The Chocolate
Factory are, left to right, Reilly DeYonker, Vina Nguyen, Allie Burrow,
Katie Meyer and Melissa Delgado.