#1StudentNWI: Bishop Noll Institute helps their community and innovates high school theatre among COVID-19 restrictions

#1StudentNWI: Bishop Noll Institute helps their community and innovates high school theatre among COVID-19 restrictions

Bishop Noll Institute has hosted a variety of community and campus events in the last month. On October 23, the National Honor Society (NHS) sponsored a blood drive with Versiti Blood Centers. Over 40 students and staff members signed up, and a total of 22 pints of blood was donated. The same day, the National Honor Society held a surprise celebration for National Principals Month. Principal Lorenza Pastrick and assistant principal Jaime Cavazos received NHS spirit wear, a gift card, and a boxed lunch from the NHS members. 

On November 19, the campus ministry held an all-school rosary over RingCentral. Each class was able to view a slideshow led by the campus minister, Stacia Bolakowski, and campus ministry interns Mary Buksa and Noah Reid. Students and teachers throughout the school building were able to participate in this much needed spiritual activity. 

November 19-20, the student council sponsored two $3 comfy days with the profits going to St. Joseph Food Bank. Students who brought in $3 or more were able to wear sweats and T-shirts instead of the winter uniform, which consists of a tie, white button-down shirt, pullover or sweater, and pants or skirt. In the past, the student council has sponsored a food drive; however, that could not take place this year due to the pandemic. Fortunately, the $3 comfy days were a success and the student council donated $2,500 to the food bank. 

November 20-22, the Bishop Noll drama department performed their fall production of “Clue Jr.” The students were still able to perform each play live, however, there were no audience members in the theatre besides the two guests allowed for each cast member. The play was live-streamed on Broadway on Demand for others to view. Tickets were sold for $5 per performance. 

Senior Olivia Baczkowski played the role of Mr. Green. Her character is extremely anxious and is allergic to cats, which played a very important part throughout the show. 

“COVID-19 has done what we might expect to our show, which is lots of social distancing, mask-wearing, and more limitations, such as passing props around or interacting with each other,” Baczkowski said.

In Baczkowski’s theatre career at Bishop Noll, she has been part of four plays and one and a half musicals, due to this past year’s musical, “Once Upon a Mattress” being cancelled due to COVID-19. 

“My favorite part of the drama department is how accepting people are,” Backowski said. “The drama club is a unique extracurricular activity because it requires the rigor and bonding of a sport. However, it doesn’t have any of the competition stress, so all the energy is put towards supporting each other and doing the best we can in our roles.” 

Drama club president, Abigail Wojtaszek, played the role of Mrs. Peacock in “Clue Jr.” Her character is a woman of faith who loves her husband very much. 

“My favorite part of the production is the chemistry between the ensemble. The fact that we are all so close, but not close physically, makes the tension and the humor so believable,” said Wojtaszek. 

Wojtaszek has been involved in all of the plays and musicals that Bishop Noll has put on since her freshman year including: “Almost Maine,” “Zombie Prom,” “Fools,” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” Her favorite performance was from the one-act play that she wrote and directed titled, “Happy Anniversary,” which debuted during Bishop Noll’s fine arts weekend in her freshman year.

The cast of “Clue Jr” also included seniors Matthew Feddeler, Amaurii Fallen, and Katie Zaragoza; juniors Adrianna Alvarez, and Katie Seleb; sophomores Gwyneth Wragg, Sophia Mendez, Airyal Smith, Jeremiah Johnson, and Aranza Toral-Arellanoas; and freshmen Reagan Graan, and Indigo Moore. It was directed by Kayla Konkle who has been the theatre, speech, and film study teacher along with the drama department sponsor for the past three years. 

The playbill was designed and created by sophomore cast member, Gwyneth Wragg. 

On November 23, Bishop Noll hosted a virtual open house. Prospective students and their families were able to see the school and talk with teachers, counselors, and students. The virtual open house was held on a Zoom session led by Admissions Director, Jeff Stur, and the student ambassador team.