names new classroom theatre after Ray Day.

Thirty four years in the classroom (teaching art and theatre), five years as director of development ([PR, fundraising and events coordination), and four years as a student (graduated in 1957) - in a nutshell that's 43 years at Our Lady of Providence High School.

Following retirement in June 2007, I continued working part-time as the schools webmaster. After all that, it is time for a bit of reminiscence - an indulgence allowed to those of us on Medicare, while drawing Social Security and watching the Stock Market plunge. If you will indulge me a bit of "horn tooting", I invite you to read on.

Something occurred at Providence on October 4, 2008 that prompts this introspective dissertation. You see, 40 years ago, after introducing Acting and Theatre Production to the Fine Arts Curriculum, I transformed a small lecture room into a Little Theatre seating about 55 patrons. Today, a new experimental black box theatre has been built and dedicated to the present and future students of Providence. This 2300 square foot state-of-the-art experimental black-box theatre includes a supporting academic classroom, backstage space and performing arts offices for a total of about 5,000 square feet.

Funding the $250,000 project came just three years after the dedication of the Sam and Paula Robinson Performing Arts Center theatre. Nearly $3,000,000 was raised to fulfill that dream.

There are three significant reasons for sharing this news with you. One, it has been a career-long dream of mine to co-design and oversee the construction of the high-quality performance space for the school. Since 1951, a small gymnasium/stage or makeshift facilities were the norm. Working closely with the architect and serving as the school's on-site project manager provided me the opportunity to approve every detail of the project.

Second, the school's Vision of Faith Capital Campaign was a central part of my role as Director of Development. Being directly involved in raising the funds was a challenging, yet rewarding task. Indeed, I'd never before asked anyone for a million dollars. Furthermore, I was overwhelmed when the donor said "yes", then voluntarily raised it to $1.5 million.

Third, receiving the honor of having the new black-box theatre bear the name, the Ray Day Little Theatre. As soon as I began teaching in 1962, theatre was my extra-curricular passion. Creating the musical theatre program, the 38-year-old dinner theatre program, the 40-year old little theatre program, were successful because I always believed that kids can accomplish great things only when challenged to do great things. That they can discover their God-given talents, and together they can produce a result far greater than any one individual alone.

This tradition continues in the Robinson Theatre and the Ray Day Little Theatre. I am both humbled and overjoyed. As the decades go by, I have often mused over my dual careers of artist and teacher. What would they remember if God called me home today? Would it be a painting on the wall? Would it be an inspired student? And who would have dreamed it would ever be a theatre?

I've learned that we all touch other people throughout our lives. Some will remember us and some will not. Our life is the journey, the people are the thrills.

The work at Providence is not done. The third jewel in the Robinson Performing Arts Center is on the drawing board - a new Music Studio adjoining the RDLT.

And yes, I'm still involved, because the fund-raising continues.

Ray Day
November, 2008