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Fine Arts

Get the Picture

Scholars who achieve at the highest levels are named National Merit students. Similarly, student-athletes are named league all-stars and performers take their turn on stage. But for top visual arts students, wider recognition can be more elusive. Under the radar, two students have earned top level recognition for excellence in visual arts and this testifies to their hard work, talent, and the excellence of their teachers, Mrs. Mills and Mrs. Finan.

Take Ben Shiffer, current grade eight students at SFXP. After receiving two Scholastic Art Gold Keys in Boston, Ben has now received two National Medals – one Gold Medal and one Silver Medal. Ben has been invited to two days of events in New York City, culminating in receiving his Gold Medal at Carnegie Hall. On June 2, the Empire State Building will be lit up in Gold to honor the Gold medalists. Ben’s Gold Medal work, Self-Portrait, is pictured above. 

SFXP Alum and current JPII junior Nick Glaser is garnering recognition as the top student artist on Cape. Nick won the grand prize in the Cape Cod Life Annual Issue contest and had two paintings published.  He will also be profiled in an upcoming July issue of Cape Cod Life Arts edition as an “emerging artist.”  Click here for some of Nick’s featured artwork.

Our school excels in visual arts thanks to talented teachers and impressive students. Ben and Nick’s recent accomplishments show us just how much.

Your Shot At Immortality

Sharpen your pencils and stoke your creativity for this once in a (school) lifetime opportunity — This year, JPII will hold a contest to write the lyrics to the school’s Alma Mater Hymn.

Music to accompany lyrics will be written by Mr. Mark Girardin. The contest is open to anyone who has a connection to Pope John Paul II High School whether as a student, faculty or staff member, or friend.

Please submit a typed copy of the proposed lyrics by January 15, 2011. Attach a separate card with the author’s name and address.


  • Lyrics must be original.
  • The Alma Mater should sound like a hymn, or a dignified, ceremonial piece of music. Lyrics should reflect the school’s mission/vision and should not be longer than two (2) minutes.
  • Lyrics will be judged on the choice of “singable” words, metric fluidity, integrity, unity, and relevance to the theme.
  • Once the winning lyrics have been chosen, the school will compose appropriate music. Lyrics may be altered or amended at this point and are the property of the school. Multiple winning entries may be selected for the purpose of combination.
  • Appropriate recognition and prizes will be awarded to the winning author(s).
  • All entries will remain the property of the school. Lyric writers understand that their submissions may be altered or amended.

Anyone wishing more information may email ckeavy@pjp2hs.org.

What It Takes

Two events this past week at JPII have caused me to think about what it takes.

After a successful first season in football and in the midst of his second (successful) campaign in baseball, JPII coach Paul ‘Spanky” Demanche announced his departure to assume new duties at Harwich High School. Later, officials of the newly formed Cape & Islands League selected the graphics package submitted by Emily Fenuccio as the league’s official logo image. These occurrences help us see that JPII’s graphic design, football, and baseball programs have achieved success at an early age.

From these, we get a glimpse of what it takes. Programs need the right combination of factors in order to “take off” — a lesson we learn through successes such as these (as well as the occasional slightly-less-than-success!). It takes:

  • Right materials and support (Have you seen the Mac lab?)
  • Right leadership (expert knowledge and strong communication, traits Mrs. Lyons and Coach Demanche share)
  • Right attitude (“This is something I want.”)

No guarantee yet, though, because the ‘actually doing it’ of a new enterprise converts vaguely dreamy notions to the work it really is (“This isn’t what I expected!”). So the critical fourth component:

  • Right commitment. Starting from scratch takes a stick-to-it-iveness from all involved in order to get past inevitable early struggles.

So this week I’ve been looking at football, graphics, and baseball and seeing what it takes. Launching new programs provides a laboratory; and for JPII students, the hard-earned knowledge of what it takes gives wisdom for a lifetime.

Great Words

The course of love never did run smooth…

If there were a sympathy in choice,

War, death , or sickness did lay siege to it,

Making it momentany as a sound,

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,

Brief as the lightening in the collied night,

That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,

And, ere a man hath power to say “Behold!”

The jaws of darkness do devour it up.

So quick bright things come to confusion.”


JPII Performing Arts has selected William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as it 2010 Spring production. It’s a good choice and JPII thespians are excited.

Last year’s production of Godspell was a huge success because of it’s great music and the cast’s obvious fun in presenting the show. This year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will showcase lots of zaniness and comedy — but musical performance will take a back seat. Why, then?

Simple: It’s the words. Shakespearean language is a treasure-trove JPII thespians will come to know intimately well. Theatre education requires worthy content, be it the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Godspell, or the Bard’s timeless words. Mark your calendars for some great words, and some great fun: May 14, 15, 16.

Four JPII Visual Artists Recognized

Works created by juniors Alissa Bergeron, Greta Bieg, Michael Burlingame, and Naiemeh Hadawar will be included in Art Visions, a Cape-wide student art exhibition to be held at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. An opening reception will be held at the Museum on Friday, December 4 from 5:30–7:30 PM. Congratulations to these four artists and to Mr. Michael Giaquinto, Painting and Design Instructor, for this recognition.