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Forming the Future: Sacred Heart Elementary, Lynn

By Donis Tracy Pilot Correspondent
Posted: 6/3/2016

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Students at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Lynn take the stage for "Seussical the Musical" last month. Pilot photo/courtesy Sacred Heart Elementary School

LYNN -- Every May, the entire school community at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Lynn comes together for one memorable evening -- an evening of theatre.

"Without exception, every single student -- from the 3-year-olds in pre-K to the eighth graders -- is up on that stage participating in the cast," explained Cory D'Arco, fine arts teacher at Sacred Heart.

"This is an event everyone in the school looks forward to," she continued. "It's an event every family looks forward to. It's even an event that the Lynn community at large looks forward to."

According to D'Arco, because the school does not have adequate space, the school performance is held at Lynn English High School.

"We pack that theatre full," she smiled.

This year, the play chosen was "Seussical the Musical," which was performed on May 19, to a sold-out crowd, she continued. "We have a cast of 240 Dr. Seuss characters -- everything from the Grinch to Horton to Cindy Lou Who!"

D'Arco praised the school's commitment to the annual performance, noting that "all the teachers get involved" as well.

Teachers sew costumes, paint backdrops, build sets, and rehearse lines -- all in addition to their classroom work, she said.

"It takes up our weekends, it takes up our evenings -- but I think we all love it," she said.

The idea for an annual play began over a decade ago according to Karen Masucci, extended day teacher for the pre-K program. Masucci volunteers her time and sewing ability to create the costumes for the performance every year.

"When we first started doing this, we only performed in a cabaret style -- with a medley of songs which we did on our own stage with the school families in attendance," she recounted. "By 2008, the space at the school was just too small, and our plays were getting too large."

Prior years' performances include: "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "High School Musical" and "Into the Woods."

According to Masucci, when Cory D'Arco was hired three years ago, she "took the performance to a new level" by adding a live orchestra that volunteers their time and talent.

"A program like this cannot succeed without the support of the school community and of the wider Lynn community," she said.

In addition to the May performance, the school also offers a summer program -- an intensive two week camp in which campers put on a smaller scale musical. "It's impressive what we can do in two weeks," smiled D'Arco.

She also hopes to expand the fine arts program at the school to include instrument lessons, noting that the foundation "Music Drives Us" recently awarded the school 50 new instruments which D'Arco hopes to distribute next year.

"Really, the arts are the cornerstone of this school," mused D'Arco. "With all the different Catholic school options in Lynn, we really want to be known as the art hub among them."