Southern School Notebook: Jan. 26

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Holy Cross lends helping hand during Catholic Schools Week

For nearly three years, the kindness and generosity of the Holy Cross School community has answered prayers from families over 8,000 miles away in Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe.

Since a chance visit by Holy Cross Principal Christine L’Abbé in March 2015, the South Portland school has helped raise thousands of dollars for the Ngamo Primary and Secondary Schools in Tsholotsho. The proceeds have paid for new piping to provide fresh water; tuition assistance for students unable to afford the $10 trimester fee; renovations for the teachers’ cottage; clothing and sporting equipment for village families; and the completion of other projects.

As part of its celebration of Maine Catholic Schools Week Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, Holy Cross, located on 436 Broadway, will continue its contributions as students square off in “Penny Wars.” For a week, students in each classroom will place pennies in their classroom jar. Students can then go to other classrooms and deposit silver change and dollar bills, which will be subtracted from the total of the other classroom. One grade will emerge victorious.

“All of the money raised will be used to offer assistance in Tsholotsho,” said L’Abbé. “Our students continue to learn that a small act of kindness can make a huge difference in the lives of others. The students will also write letters to Ngamo students telling them what it is like to go to school in Maine and answer questions the students in Zimbabwe sent to them.”

Students at Holy Cross will also collect donations for the South Portland Boys and Girls Club and the Animal Refuge League. Representatives from both organizations will attend a schoolwide prayer service at Holy Cross Church on Friday, Feb 2, at 9 a.m.

In addition to the service projects, many special events are scheduled, including a kick-off Mass at Holy Cross Church on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 9:30 a.m.; gym games between grades; planetarium presentations; special assemblies with guest speakers; a student vs. faculty volleyball game; and a roller skating field trip.

Maine Catholic Schools Week celebrates the mission of Catholic Schools: to evangelize students by nourishing faith and encouraging academic excellence while accentuating the importance of community and service in a nurturing environment. For a look at activities and projects taking place at other Catholic schools in Maine during Catholic Schools Week, visit

Cape Elizabeth college student honored for one-act play

Myra Diehl of Cape Elizabeth earned third place at Mary Baldwin University in the William Faulkner Literary Competition for her one-act play “Rehearsal Report.”

Diehl said she’d never written a play before taking a directing class at Mary Baldwin.

“I didn’t expect it to win anything, as they received submissions from professional writers and applicants from all over the world, but I thought it might be a good experience anyway,” she said. “I figured I had nothing to lose, and thought I would regret it if I didn’t give it a shot.”

“Rehearsal Report” follows a group of actors, their eccentric director, and their stage manager as they navigate the pitfalls of a rehearsal. They struggle with stage slaps, stage kisses, and dropped lines as they try to put the play together in time for opening night, which eventually leads to the complete mental breakdown of the director.

“The play is comedic, whimsical, and very weird,” said Diehl, who is a senior this year. “But hopefully a lot of fun to perform as well.”

The Faulkner award came with a certificate, $200, and the honor of having her play performed as part of next year’s award ceremony.

Founded in 1842, Mary Baldwin University is a small, coeducational university offering a range of degree programs in Staunton, Virginia, and other locations in the state.