Key Change: Carrillo leaving PA to pursue MA at MSU

      With the 2018-2019 school year drawing to a close, the common expectation is that students are are getting very excited to leave for summer, but unlike past years, this year’s parting is bittersweet. For at the end of this school year, Choirmaster Richard Carrillo will be resigning after seven years of teaching at Providence Academy.

     Carrillo has accepted a graduate assistantship at Missouri State University. “At Missouri State, I will be able to work towards my Master’s while teaching and conducting the students there,” said Carrillo. He added  “I will definitely bring everything I have learned at Providence to this next job. Building the choir program up has given me a lot of experience and helped me grow into a better conductor and teacher.”

Richard Carrillo pauses between classes for a quick photo; Carrillo has served as choral director at PA since 2012.

      When students found about Carrillo’s resignation, many had the same reaction as Emma Ellings ‘21 “I was sad! He has been here for a really long time and is such a nice person. Whoever takes over for him will have a hard time filling his shoes.”

       Isabella Igbanugo ‘19, Choir student and actress in the upcoming school musical, agreed with Ellings. She described it as“Sad, but it’s different for me because I am also leaving this year. It just feels like an end to an era. I still remember the fun junior year trip to Chicago with him, that was one of my favorite memories.”

    Carrillo’s decision wasn’t an easy one, he reflected, “I will miss this lovely community a lot and all of the students, staff and parents that I have built such strong relationships with.” He continued on to say, “Providence has given me the opportunity to combine my  love of music with my Catholic faith. In this world, you usually have to choose one over the other, but here I was able to grow greater in both and merge my loves into one.”

        With Carrillo leaving at the end of this school year students across the high school have already booked tickets in advance through the PA website for his final and upcoming musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. There are even more opportunities to attend this musical, because for the first time in Providence history, there will be four showings of the musical:  May 3rd at 7:00 p.m, May 4th at 2:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m and May 5th at 2:00 p.m. Please make sure to save this date in your calendar to watch the performance and wish him well in his future endeavors.

The promotional poster for the upcoming musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The Meme Competition

Throughout Providence Academy’s eighteen years of existence there has never been an in-school competition like it. Recently, Mr. Skemp’s History Meme Challenge quickly became the talk of the Senior class. Anna Kral ‘19, a runner up in the competition, enthused, “It was a blast and I worked so hard on my meme! I spent my entire snow day making it and when I talked to my friends they were also spending the day making memes!” 

The meme competition came about when Senior history teacher Ian Skemp needed a snow day assignment. He commented, “I, myself, have been putting off productivity because I was busy making history memes and had been making memes in the week leading up to the snow days.” Turning his self-proclaimed procrastination to productivity, Skemp called it “research and made it a snow day assignment where all my senior history students had to make a history related meme and then compete to see which was the best one.”

The actual voting process lasted three days. First, each class period voted on their class’ history memes; one student from each class obtained the honorable title of Chungus Amungus, a meme in itself ( Next, these finalists were voted on by all history class periods. The ultimate winner earned the title Chungus Amungus Supreme. Jacob Gable ‘19 remarked on receiving this highly coveted recognition, “I was very honored to become Chungus Amungus Supreme; I just wanted to make a church related joke that was also applicable to what we are learning in class. I ended up using the Spongebob template because I thought it was fitting and funny”.

Even though Kral did not win Chungus Amungus Supreme, she still thoroughly enjoyed the experience and reflected, “Everyone likes my meme but I do not have all the pressure of being the Chungus Amungus Supreme!”

However, not everyone shared these sentiments. Caitlyn Larson ‘19 said, “I was disappointed that I didn’t win Chungus Amungus. I was really close but I’m still happy for my friend.”

In the end, the meme competition was a huge hit! Larson stated, “we should do a meme competition in all classes. It made it easier to remember specific history facts and got me thinking about all the different information we went over in class that I didn’t know that I remembered.”

Kral agreed, saying, “it allows us to connect more with the class on a teenage level. It got our creative juices flowing, got us more interested in the subject, and was a perfect assignment for a snow day.”

Marian Consecration

Find it odd seeing students and teachers walking around with charm bracelets without any charms on them? They are, in fact, a symbol of consecration to Jesus through Mary, also known as Marian Consecration.  Siena Adducci ’19 explains, “At the end of 33 days, a chain around your wrist symbolizes you are a servant of Christ.”  This 17th century practice, popularized by St. Luis de Montfort has been adopted by many Catholics over the years.  Father Michael Gaitley’s book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, has brought about a recent resurgence of interest in this nearly 500 year old devotion in the Church and here at Providence.

What may appear a charmless charm bracelet actually symbolizes one’s lifelong commitment to be bonded to Christ through Mary.

Before Christmas, Fr. McClellan, Dr. Boldt, and Mr. Carrillo announced this opportunity to the upper school, framed by Gaitely’s book.  Mr. Richard Carrillo, US Choir director, noted, “there are many different variations of this practice, but Providence is using Morning Glory where these brief reflections (about 5 minutes a day) allow us to contemplate what a relationship with Mary will look like and how powerful it can be.” Certainly, as Carrillo pointed out, “This can be done at any time of day, but we have group prayer after school in the chapel and several copies of Fr. Gaitley’s book on reserve there.”

Let by Netters, many upper schoolers are praying through Fr. Gaitley’s book and marking the days to Marian Consecration on this calendar in the chapel.

Providence is taking part in this “thirty three day prayer routine to ask Mary to help draw us closer to Jesus,” Carrillo explained, “not only obtaining a stronger relationship with Mary but with Christ as well.” Adducci added “My consecration really helped me get a lot closer to Mary and I haven’t taken my bracelet off since. It is actually my one year anniversary later this month and I’ll renew my vows.”  Like many, Adducci picked the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25th) as her official day of consecration.

Carrillo further reflected, “every saint I have ever admired said this was a pivotal part of their own personal conversion and very helpful for them.” When speaking to the school before Christmas leading up to this opportunity, Carrillo noted how much his own perception and appreciation of Mary had grown over the years, “When I think of how my own Mother wants to care for me, it’s easier to understand the role Mary desires to have in our relationship with Jesus.”

All different types of Marian consecration lead to the same outcome: a stronger prayer life, a stronger relationship with Mary, and a stronger relationship with Jesus.

State of the Union

On February 5th, 2019, President Trump addressed the American people in the annual State of the Union Address (SOTU). An annual overview of the president’s term and his plans for the future, this year’s SOTU sought to unite divided partisans, highlight the success of professional women, and advance security measures, particularly along the southern border.

Leading up to the address, a primary concern was whether Trump’s speech was going to be one of unity or one of division. He made his intentions quite clear in his opening remarks stating, “the agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda, It is the agenda of the American people.”

Upper school Choir Director, Mr. Richard Carrillo thought Trump succeeded in unifying his listeners during “the praise of the women’s success in Congress, the heartfelt moment of the holocaust survivor, his savior, and raising awareness of childhood cancer”.  “Those moments were a good way to wash away partisanship,” added Isabella Igbanugo ‘19.

Grace Eline, honored during the SOTU address for surviving brain cancer and bringing awareness to childhood cancer.

Trump’s efforts to unify came across throughout the address, but Carrillo further reflected, “at times he tried to reach out more broadly, but he was still making an effort to advance his platform and agenda. Our politics are so divided anyway, that to even express one’s opinions and policies would come off as divided on either side.”  Nonetheless, Igbanago believes “it is a nice bridge between the president and the American people.” She continued, “[Trump] had the intent of unifying but because of the strong partisanship, the government shutdown, and the disapproving democratic audience members’ response it seemed like it wasn’t as unifying.”  

Democratic female members of Congress cheer at this year’s SOTU after President Trump announced there are more women in Congress than ever before.

For some, the annual event didn’t hold any appeal at all. Mr. Ian Skemp, US history teacher, didn’t even watch the speech, saying, “I cannot stomach such cheap political posturing. I wish presidents would go back to just having a letter delivered to Congress now and then instead of making such a big, pompous show about it.”  In the end, everyone will have a different opinion of the speech, perhaps even the practice itself.  To stay informed and come to your own conclusions, watch President Trump’s SOTU speech at:

Practice Makes Perfect for Lower School Christmas Concert

     Many enjoyed the funny, lighthearted second and third grade Christmas concert on Tuesday December fourth. But not many know all of the intensity and preparations that had to go on behind the scenes to make the concert such a big success.  Maureen Woeltge, lower school Concert Director stated, “My preparations started back in summer splitting up the roles, organizing the parts, laying out the plans, and planning on how to teach them the music.”

    Ms. Woeltge wasn’t the only one preparing extremely early, the students preparations began early as well. She explained “we start preparing for the concert right after grandparents day. We are kind of like a shopping store, because we are already singing Christmas songs in October.”  The students are especially busy with preparations the week before the concert itself. Third grade teacher Ann Brown stated,  “The classroom schedule gets a little tighter, but we just become creative with it”

     The trickiest part for students preparing for such a complex concert is “keeping motivated and staying focused but they always do a good job. Something that really motivates them is a song memorization tracker which is drawn on the whiteboard and they can visually see where they are at and their improvement” Mrs. Woeltge adds on.  The song memorization tracker is not only for the students but Mrs. Woeltge as well. To help her with her biggest challenge of keeping organized and separating all the different Christmas concerts between the grades.

    “I am never nervous when they are on stage, but very excited because it is their time to shine, to showcase everything they have learned” Brown said. She really had nothing to worry about, for even though the concert was a challenging production, the students on stage were in sync and knew all of their lines.  The professional delivery was most impressive from a young group of performers.

     Mrs. Woeltge added, “my favorite moment is seeing them on stage showcase what they have learned and then talking to them after the concert about their fun stories.  On the way home one family sung all the songs from the concert together […] That’s really what it’s all about.”