Meet our Music and Drama Specialist
Laura DeGraff is the Music and Drama specialist as well as the Faith Coach at St. Martin de Porres School. From a young age, she has had a passion for singing, dancing, and performing. She considers herself very fortunate to be able to pass that passion onto the students at St Martin. Throughout the years, she has gained experience and knowledge through working with several school and community theatre groups and various music ministries. Her favorite thing is to witness and foster the creativity of the students she works with!
At St. Martin de Porres, students have the unique experience of taking Drama class from Kindergarten to Grade 5. Younger students start by learning to structure imaginative play into whole-class experiences. In older grades, students create their own scenes using a variety of dramatic forms either by themselves or in groups. Drama in elementary school is an opportunity to learn about collaboration, empathy, and artistry. It is also a benefit to early literacy development. There are many extracurricular opportunities for students to grow in their Drama skills. Students in Grades 4 and 5 are able to audition for featured parts in our annual Christmas musical as well as perform at the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts.
Music classes at St. Martin de Porres use the Comprehensive Music model. Students are exposed to a wide variety of instruments and techniques as they read, sing, play, and create Music! In class, students have the opportunity to play instruments such as Boomwhackers, djembe drums, ukuleles, and tone chimes. All students perform several songs at our annual Christmas musical. Students who are passionate about Music are able to join our choir that performs at many community events such as Rebels hockey games, the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts, and Choir Kids. There is also an opportunity for students to lead in song at our school liturgies and Masses.
At St. Martin de Porres, students are immersed in visual arts through all subjects in classroom integration as well as weekly art classes with a specialist teacher from Grades 1-5. In weekly art classes, students focus on art history, artists, techniques, a variety of mediums to create magnificent displays for the school. St. Martin de Porres has had successful art shows and has Art Zones for each grade where students are engrossed in extensive projects for half-day sessions multiple times throughout the year. Art in elementary school is a time to explore, to take chances, and to turn mistakes into happy accidents that are celebrated in their creations! There is a weekly drawing club for any interested student and numerous opportunities for sharing their creativity with activities throughout the year.
Faith and the arts go hand in hand at St Martin de Porres School. You will see our Catholic faith come alive through the arts at our school-based celebrations and our Masses at Sacred Heart Parish. We practice faith permeation where our teachers show students how God is present in all of the subjects they learn about. Prayer is an important part of our school culture and students learn to write and lead their own prayers. Students at St Martin have an opportunity to put their faith into action through various Social Justice projects such as hot dog sales to benefit community organizations, Food Bank collections, and a partnership with Bethany Care Centre at Red Deer College.