St. Mary’s School welcomes grandparents

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- St. Mary's School hosted a special day on Thursday to allow the students and staff to show their appreciation to the students' grandparents.
As a part of Catholic School Week, the school welcomed grandparents to attend an afternoon that featured a marionette puppet performance, an ice cream social, a school tour and a variety of games and activities.
She said the school has held the grandparents day for four consecutive years now and they always receive a great response. With around 70 grandparents at the school, this year was no exception.
The puppet show was put on by Stevens Puppets, a regional touring act that performs all over the Midwest.
Guy Thompson, of Stevens Puppets, surprisingly put on the entire show by himself.
Stevens Puppets is one of only three companies that currently put on marionette puppet shows in the Midwest.
He currently performs around 300 shows each year
Stevens Puppets uses marionette puppets to perform classic fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Aladdin.
Thursday's performance was an abridged version of The Wizard of Oz with the voices and music pre-recorded and played back on a CD.
The 40 minute production featured the meeting of Dorothy with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion and then went to directly to the land of Oz, skipping over their adventures on the yellow brick road.
The large crowd of students and grandparents were delighted by the performance.
After the performance was complete, Thompson came out from behind the stage and asked the crowd "Would you like to see a puppet and how it works?"
He brought out the Tin Man and explained how the different strings control the different movements of the large marionette puppet.
Thompson then invited the crowd to come backstage and take a closer look at the entire operation.
"I have the most fun showing them how the puppets work and taking them backstage," Thompson said. "It shouldn't be a mystery."
After the show, half of the students remained in the gymnasium for an ice cream social and the other half took their grandparents into the school to show off their classrooms and play games.
The classrooms were set up for activities such as portrait drawing, puzzles and checkers.
Sue Cramer was very impressed with the quality of the St. Mary's School.
St. Mary's School will wrap up Catholics Schools Week with a mass on Saturday, followed by an open house and pizza party at 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

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