John Paul II Catholic High School does Christmas in a big way. The hallways are decorated with lights, tinsel and trees, and if that doesn’t put you into the holiday spirit, the Fine Arts Festival will. Dozens of students ushered in the season with their music and art. Family members and friends were treated to a concert and an exhibition that illustrated what students have learned in the past few months.
Twelfth-grader Patrick Carreon is a versatile performer due to his facility with instruments. He plays the piano, cello, violin, drums, ukulele, guitar and bass, to name just a few. Patrick also sings, and his management of the school’s choir has provided him with some valuable life skills. “Being the director of the chapel choir has taught me patience and time management because you have to learn new pieces every single week. It has taught me to be a leader.”
Patrick plans to study chemistry in college and knows his music training will serve him well in that pursuit. “When I see a piece of music, I think of it as a puzzle. It’s the same thing for science. You have to solve problems and my experience from music and the patience that I’ve gained from that can help me solve these problems.”
Donald Michel is a 12th-grader and through his study at JPII he has learned a few life lessons as well, specifically perseverance. He observed that with music “the more you do it, the more you get better at it.” Donald and several of his classmates performed a unique percussion piece that featured pots, pans, and garbage cans to sustain the rhythm. Though this was Donald’s favorite performance because of its unconventional nature, his heart has been stolen by another instrument. “I am a pianist,” he affirmed, “and it’s a gift that I should work on to become better. Things that you want aren’t going to come easy, you have to work hard at it.”
Ana Maria Mendoza, also a 12thgrader, had a similar sentiment. She studies both music and art and she knows the intrinsic benefits of working diligently. She said, “Sometimes when you work on a piece of art for a really long time you’re sick of seeing it and you just want to be done with it. Sometimes you’re tempted to do a bad job of it. It’s a lot more satisfying when you take your time.”
Tenth-grade art student Nicole Cross agrees. “I like to draw everything. When I challenge myself, when I finish it, I’m more proud of what I’ve done because I know it’s hard and I’ve accomplished something.” Currently a Drawing and Painting 1 student, Nicole is learning the foundations of art and her M.C. Escher inspired drawing showed a variety of techniques. “This one was really challenging,” she confessed. “I was like ‘that’s going to be really hard,’ and it was. I tried using dots, cross-hatching, shading and lines. I like how I incorporated everything that Mrs. Manos is teaching us.”
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