Easter has always been a well-celebrated holiday on the Wesleyan campus. From the lower school Easter egg hunt, to the high school viewing of the 4th grade Easter play, every student has been involved in the celebration of Jesus’s sacrifice and return from the grave.
The 4th graders worked hard for a week to get their Easter play “show ready.” With the help of the 4th grade parents, the show was able to run smoothly for both the parental showings as well as the class viewings.
Teacher and grade chair Sarah Kate Wilson said, “We have an army of moms behind the scenes that work flawlessly to pull off each performance.” All teachers agreed that the show would not go on without the aid of dedicated mothers.
“For some 4th graders, the play is the first time they truly realized the magnitude of Jesus’s sacrifice,” Wilson said. Older students were also moved by the meaningful execution of the play and seeing the children bring the Easter Story to life. Junior Laurel Lee Chatham said, “I look forward to the Easter Play every year because it really reminds me how beautiful Christ’s sacrifice was for us.”
Many fourth graders were excited to contribute to this presentation. Fourth grader Judson Means said, “My favorite part of the play was getting to say my lines.”
However, some students had their base of motivation from other things. Many pupils were most excited for the pizza party they receive after the show.
“Pizza is the best part of the play,” student Kerns Krehmeyer said. Fellow student, Isaac Liverance responded with, “What? There’s a pizza party? Why didn’t anyone tell me?” followed by an excited monologue on his love for pizza.
Each year’s 4th graders participate in this depiction of Christ’s sacrifice. The play is an important aspect of Wesleyan’s Christian mission because it encourages even the shyest of children to get on stage to tell about God. It not only helps children grow in their faith, but also increases their confidence and public-speaking ability.
As opposed to other lower school plays such as the 2nd graders’ Camp Learned-A-Lot, or the 1st grade Three Piggy Opera, the Easter Play has multiple showings and is a major part of Wesleyan’s Easter celebrations. Instead of the audience only consisting of fellow lower schoolers, the 4th graders perform for the entirety of the Wesleyan community. It is excellent preparation for future middle school presentations.
When asked to recall the past, sophomores and former Jesus actors Matthew Stainback and Andrew Pridgeon commented on their split of the leading role.
“My favorite part of being Jesus was when I got to knock over all the baskets in the first temple scene,” Pridgen said. Other students laughed, recalling Pridgen’s angry temper in the scene. Pridgen also said, “The hard part was getting my 4th grade self to stay focused long enough to memorize all the lines… having your lines memorized the night before the opening is a bad thing.”
“The only thing I remember is the fact that Andrew was a lot taller than me, so my mom referred to us as ‘big Jesus’ and ‘little Jesus’,” Stainback said. The nicknames caught on with fellow students giving everyone a good laugh amidst the stressful rehearsal times.
No matter how far removed Wesleyan students’ experience with the Easter Play is, all Evergreen students can relate to the hard work, dedication and time put into this unwavering Wesleyan tradition.