Crazy to think this is the last News You Can [Hopefully] Use of 2021.

Because of the nature of the season, I think I’ll kick us off with a reflection of some of the things from these past four months we can be grateful for…

1. A school year, in person, together in community.

2. Alice in Wonderland, a chance to collaborate with Michael Allen Harrison and perform original music for our fall production. A La Salle first.

3. Another Day of Sun Benefit, with your help and support, raised just shy of $1,200.00 in, in-person and anonymous donations ensuring that for the remainder of the school year, any student who wants to participate will be able to participate. Wow. Wow. Wow. Thank you to all of you and happy holidays indeed.

4. Our International Honor Society Troupe #10116 student leaders, who have gone above and beyond during this up and down semester to lead by example, to model service and to place an emphasis on building healthy relationships and community. Organizing several hang out sessions, the Another Day of Sun Benefit and informal get-togethers, just to name a few.

5. From roughly 2016 – 2019 we graduated 19-24 seniors a year from the program. The theater program…as of last year had roughly 32 active participants. Part of that, of course is COVID, and part of that is because the last few classes coming through have had fewer numbers. As of this writing we have 107 students participating in theater, with the highest percentage of them being freshmen and sophomores. The present is incredible and the future looks bright.

6. College acceptance letters starting to roll in for our seniors. Affirmation for all of their hard work and dedication.

7. Successful Winter Show Auditions. Come see Gifted the first and second weekend of February.

8. A joyous Choir and Guitar Christmas concert and just delightful holiday band ensemble.

9. Hopeful expectation for Mamma Mia! Auditions in January and MOST of ALL…

10. The students, the volunteers and each and everyone of you who make this place that much better. Those of you who have been around the block with us over the years and those of you experiencing the first go around of this rodeo. Your perspective, your presence…you make this place the special place it is for our kids. So thank you.

UPCOMING NEWS:

GIFTED by Tommy Lee Johnston. Mr. Jenks revisits his high-school alma mater as a substitute teacher for a class of highly gifted students. Discovering the passage of time hasn’t erased his own painful experiences as a bully, he now faces a class of kids whose lives and experiences all too closely resemble those of the very students he taunted. Zach, Maggie, Jake, Janie, Jamie and James all struggle in their own way with their gift of intellect and the impact it has on their social standing in life and school. Their stories of being bullied quickly take Jenks back to a time of much shame and pain. He must face his feelings while helping the students understand the senselessness of bullying, and he will deliver news to the students that will force them to see life in a whole new way. Gifted is a story of love, respect, devotion, extreme forgiveness and embracing one’s own gift. The La Salle Theater Department is proud to present this Senior Capstone project directed by Aaron Leonard-Graham with assistant direction by Riley Herington ’24 and the following cast members:

JENKS – Sofia Kahl ’22

ZACH – Isaac Shirley ’22

MAGGIE – Ava Whalon ’22

JAKE – Shay Lough ’22

JANIE – Bailey Fronks ’25

JAMIE – Jasmine McIntosh ’24

JAMES – Hanna Reddick ’22

Gifted will run Feb. 4-6 &  11-13, 2022. We’d love for everyone to be there! AND…for those of you who may have questions about a Senior Capstone and what the academic process is for students who would like to go for something like that their senior year.

MAMMA MIA our spring musical had actor audition and crew information packets go out today. Auditions will be January 12, 13 & 14, 2022. The intention is for the cast & crew list to be posted no later then Sunday, January 16, 2022. Informational packets are on Schoology.

LONDON 2022 is still chugging along. There are 2 remaining spots for travelers to join us. If you have any questions or interest, please reach out to me at mshelton@lshigh.org. Thank you.

Additional opportunities to get involved this spring.

– The 4th Annual Original Works Festival [premiere student original work.]

– The 1st Annual Filmmaker’s Gala [A night of short films from students in the Filmmaking and Screenwriting class.]

– Artists’ Aiding Artists’ Benefit brought to you by the La Salle Artist Honor Society.

– Two…that’s right…two more open mic opportunities in the spring as well as

– The 4th Annual Sheltony Awards [a family fun event where we honor student work for the past year, highlight meaningful moments and performances, give out some awards and induct new qualifying students into the National Honor Society. Think of the Tony Awards, but with a La Sallian Twist.]

Since it will be 2022 the next time a sent a NYCHU message out I’d like to close with a heart-felt thank you to all of you. I am deeply grateful for, and honored to work with you and your students and I hope this holiday season is restorative and fulfilling. I hope you find time to be with the people you most love, who bring you the most joy and I hope you move into the new year with a profound sense of hope. Hope for all we have experienced and accomplished, and hope for all that is to come. I’m reminded of a stanza from the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem Something Left Undone…which for me, is something I’m carrying into 2022 with anticipation and hope.

“Labor with what zeal we will,
Something still remains undone,
Something uncompleted still
Waits the rising of the sun.”

What a gift, that there’s more to do. More to learn. More love to give and receive. More people to meet, more bonds to strengthen and more opportunities to courageously, boldly, proudly continue the work we have been given to do. May your holidays be a gift and happy New Year to all of you!

Shelton