Marking a first as a video production, St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s annual Lenten Assembly presented the Stations of the Cross to the Dominican community in student reflections, music, and song. Filming inside school buildings and on-campus grounds was completed in three days. The student video production was streamed to classes prior to the Easter break. Directors were Rosalie Abadie, art teacher/Drama Club head moderator, and Cameron Hahne, French teacher/Drama Club co-moderator.
Several factors inspired the production which marks its first time as a video. “After using the same format for several years, we had begun thinking of ways to change the program,” shared Abadie, adding that the COVID pandemic was a major influence. Writing the script, Abadie said her goal was to show “how the Stations of the Cross do affect us as a school community and, therefore, I wanted it to reflect a school day and the advance of time.”
The video opens with a call to prayer by Principal Carolyn Favre. The first station begins with a student entering campus through the back gate. The following stations take the audience through the school and closes with the seniors leaving campus via the back gate. Also highlighted are school support groups – “our Simons and Veronicas,” noted Abadie. “The stations are further enhanced with beautiful songs and instrumentals by our very talented students.”
Everyone who participated in the Lenten Assembly was willing and patient to venture into a production they had never done before, learning new songs, and staying late after school. “They seemed to feel the story of the Passion through students’ eyes,” said Abadie. “We were deeply affected because it was a lot of work, but so much fun watching it come together and trying something new. We also had a deeper appreciation of our students and their talents.”
“Working with film has been an exciting venture,” shared Hahne. “With film, you get to tell a story in a unique way because you are not only presenting the narrative, but you’re directing how the audience perceives that story. For us, the story was how the Stations of the Cross are lived out here on the Dominican campus, and this project allowed us to present the same beautiful sights and sounds we encounter every day, whether we knew they were there or not, in relation to the Paschal Mystery, Christ’s saving action on Earth.”
As a first production of its type, there was much trial and error. Exterior filming brought challenges of uncontrolled noise from the wind and planes. Inside, the unexpected slam of a door or a far-off voice at the end of filming a segment meant a retake. “We had no idea how it would turn out and we really wanted the students to be moved by a different telling of the story,” said Abadie.
Hahne echoed that sentiment. “It was a new medium for everyone involved, so we had to work together—teachers and students—to navigate all of the visual, audio, and technological challenges that arose. But with our talents and experiences, we were able to build a truly beautiful piece of art upon the four pillars of Dominican community life: prayer, study, community, and service. I expect that this is only the first step of Drama Club entering into film.”
Lenten Assembly participants were Madison Adams, Maddie Ascani, Isabella Brockway, Mia DiGiovanni, Aria Dody, Emily Dominique, Amy Engelhardt, Isabelle Fitzmorris, Kamryn Gervais, Heaven Haney, Olivia Higgins, Elise Karcher, Kelci Lewis, Lauren McMahon, Olivia Olson, Elana Perriott, Holly Rantz, Sara Sciortino, Mia Signorelli, Camille Truxillo, and Samantha White. The videographer/editor was Megan Eisert. Fine Arts Department Chair Brenda Castillo and math teacher Kenneth Lannes were accompanists and school personnel volunteered to read the Stations of the Cross.