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École Notre Dame High School students transport people back to the '60s

Students in Grade 9 to 12 at École Notre Dame High School (NDHS) presented their fifth annual drama production to members of the Bonnyville community on March 20 and 21. The play was a tribute to the 1960s. See gallery below.

BONNYVILLE – Students in Grade 9 to 12 at École Notre Dame High School (NDHS) presented their fifth annual drama production to members of the Bonnyville community on March 20 and 21. The play was a tribute to the 1960s. 

This year’s play is called Groovy and celebrates the hippies and the flower children of the 1960s. 

Grade 12 students Aubrey Wizniuk, Aletta Dechaine, and Yelena Engler, admitted they were anxious prior to their first show on March 20. 

“[We’re] terrified. We’ll get through it though,” said Engler. 

But they were also equally excited, seeing “lots of people in the crowd,” added Dechaine. 

But deliver, they did.  

About 10 minutes later, the stage light flared, and the play began with three characters, Travis, Muriel, and Alice, deciding to organize a free festival at Crumb’s Apple Farm to celebrate “music, beads, and flowers.” 

Their vision was loved by The Lemon Bugs, a famous singing group, who then decided to perform at the festival. People started coming in for the festival, but someone had to ruin the fun. 

Mrs. Porter hates the “Love Generation” and asked the local police to shut down the festival. Then, a couple of music promoters also tempted The Lemon Bugs with a deal. The catch was the singing group had to skip the festival. 

Students in colourful outfits playing equally colourful characters joined the play, with the audience cracking smiles and laughter as they watched. 

Both the in-character festival and the actual show were a success. 

Kim Barrie, academic counsellor at NDHS and also the director of the school’s Drama Production, thanked all who watched the production. It took lots of work to put all the pieces together, she said, in addition to the students’ spending countless hours practicing for the shows. 

“We had such a big task this year. We handed out scripts in November, and we've practiced pretty much every Wednesday for two hours after school,” said Barrie, adding the students really stepped up, breaking through their comfort zones.  

“Some of them have never sang before.” 

Barrie added that she believes giving the youth a creative outlet through the arts is important for teenagers. 

The production was also a great way to send off and celebrate the Grade 12 Drama students’ high school careers. “They’ve been an integral part of growing the program at [NDHS],” she said. There are eight Grade 12 Drama students graduating this year.  

“They’ve been with me for many years.” 

Dechaine shared the sentiment. “I'm really happy that lots of people came out to support, especially since this is the last year for some of us Grade 12s. So, we’re happy to see lots of the town coming out to watch it.” 

Engler agreed, also thanking all the people involved with the play. She explained a full production requires many moving parts, like the art class helping with the production on the stage.  

“It’s a group effort... we couldn’t do it without everyone else’s help.” 

Barrie added the community helped too, with the Bonnyville Fine Arts Society donating their lighting and equipment.  

“We couldn’t put on shows if it wasn’t for the support of the community,” said Barrie, adding, “We’ll be here for many more years to come with shows for the community to enjoy.” 

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Mario Cabradilla

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