Trinity Episcopal School's 'passion' teaches students resurrection, Crucifixion
April 15, 2017 at 6:33 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2017 at 6 a.m.
Trinity Episcopal School students in the Trinity Episcopal Church chapel courtyard lifted their green and yellow palms to serve as shelter from the Monday rain.
The smell of church incense floated toward swollen rain clouds at the school's Palm Monday service that introduced a week of events focused on the days before Jesus' death.
"The Passion," a production by the eighth-grade students, was performed Wednesday morning and left the school gasping and wide-eyed with amazement.
Concepts of the Crucifixion and resurrection are first taught in the school's Early Childhood Center, a prekindergarten program for children ages 3 and 4 years old.
The 20-minute production focused on events at the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, an offstage scourging, carrying the cross and the final crucifying of Jesus.
After the play, the eighth-grade actors visited the prekindergarten classes to reassure them that it was a re-enactment and that no one was hurt.
The purpose of Jesus' death was to take away people's sins, said Reghan Dornak, K3 student.
"I felt sad, but when he died on the cross, that makes me happy," Reghan, 4, said.
Reghan was not scared during any part of the play, she said.
As an instructional method, the play provides a beneficial experience for the students, said Claire Goyen, K4 teacher.
"It's one thing to read it out of the Bible, it's another to watch something on TV, but it's another level when you see people re-enacting what goes on," Goyen said.
Violence was handled in an appropriate manner, she said.
"The kids notice the seriousness of it, and what it does is it helps them to be able to have a great discussion about what happened so long ago," she said.
Students come back to the classroom with a variety of questions, Goyen said.
"Many of them think that he has to die every year," she said. "I really try to express that it's us remembering what happened."
Piper Harrison, K3 teacher, approaches the ideas by explaining the word "representation."
The lesson takes the form of a group discussion to facilitate dialogue, an approach she uses to provide inclusion for all faiths that make up the school's population.
Harrison also conducts Bible reading with her class every day.
"These ideas are not new to them," she said.
Harrison also conducts a pre-discussion about what students should expect to see in the play.
Jesus' death was a sacrifice, which is why people love him, said Cosette Tate, K4 student.
"I saw Jesus carrying the cross," Cosette, 5, said. "I like that part."
Jesus was only on the cross for a little bit, she said.
"He died, rose, and on Easter he comes back," she said. "Mary said to all of the people because God said to tell all the people Jesus is alive."