Students at 25 schools throughout the Diocese of Allentown participated in “Make a Joyful Noise,” a friendly online musical competition to celebrate school spirit and raise funds for schools throughout Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.
Inspired by “Cooks with Collars,” a successful fundraiser that raised a total of $305,110 for parishes and Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Allentown, “Make a Joyful Noise” challenges diocesan students to create entertaining videos about their schools, incorporating music and dance to showcase what they feel makes their schools unique.
Students and teachers sang along and danced to a wide variety of music genres, including pop, rock, and Broadway-style musical numbers.
On the competition’s website www.weloveourcatholicschools.com, each school has a fundraising page where anyone can watch a video, cast a vote for their favorite video, and donate to the school.
Videos have been viewed over 15,000 times on YouTube and Vimeo. People have viewed videos and voted across Pennsylvania and even other states, including New Jersey, New York, and Florida.
Over 1,000 donations have been made, ranging from $2 to $10,000, and the competition has raised a total of over $133,000.
“All the money stays in the schools,” said Ginny Downey, Major and Planned Gift Officer of the Diocese of Allentown.
“With thousands of visitors to the ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ website, plus all the voters and dollars raised, we can see that people care deeply about Catholic schools,” said Paul Acampora, Executive Director for Stewardship and Development in the Diocese of Allentown. “That’s because Catholic schools have a history of improving lives for students, families, and communities. It’s been true in the past, it’s true today, and it’s going to be true tomorrow.”
The competition’s name, “Make a Joyful Noise,” is derived from Psalm 100:1, “Shout joyfully to the Lord,” though some translations say “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
The goal of this competition is to “continue to grow the Catholic school community,” said Downey.
“We were very excited from the beginning,” said Susan Parker, principal of Good Shepherd Catholic School, Northampton, whose video aimed to showcase their school and say farewell to their eighth-grade class.
“We are a close-knit community with 300 students, but what we did brought us together as a school family,” said Parker.
The video by St. Joseph Center for Special Learning in Pottsville showcases their new school building. “It was a lot of fun!” said Bob Giba, Principal of the school. St. Joseph Center serves children and adults with special needs, and Giba said he hopes that their video “celebrates their students and brings awareness of their needs.”
“Loved the video! Such a creative way to celebrate the move to the new school,” said one viewer about the St. Joseph Center video.
“Our experience has been that a Catholic education builds a strong foundation supporting many achievements. It’s a gift that provides a lifetime of returns to the recipient and donor,” said another viewer about the video by St. John Neumann Regional School in Palmerton.
“What an Incredible video that highlights just how special Holy Family School is! We are truly blessed that our children have the opportunity to attend a school that makes them feel like family!” said another viewer about the video by Holy Family School in Nazareth.
Voting ended Wednesday, May 31. There was no limit to how many times people could vote, and they were encouraged to vote for multiple schools.
The first-place award, called the “Maestro,” was awarded to the school that raised the most money. It was awarded to Nativity BVM High School in Pottsville, which raised over $22,000 with an energetic performance.
“I’m very proud of our students, our school, our faculty and staff, and our school community,” said Lynn Sabol, principal, at the conclusion of the video.
The second-place award, called the “First Chair Winner,” was given to the school showing great participation. This award goes to Mercy School for Special Learning, Allentown.
According to Parker, students at her school “are already thinking of a song for next year’s video.”
By Gia Myers