Four Schools Win Top Honors in ‘Make A Joyful Noise’ Competition

The second annual “Make A Joyful Noise” musical competition among schools in the Diocese of Allentown ran throughout the month of May, and now winners are announced.

Ginny Downey, Major and Planned Gift Officer of the Diocese of Allentown, said of the competition, “It was a huge success, and we have extra winners this year.”

For the second consecutive year, the “Maestro” award given to the school that raised the most money goes to Nativity BVM High School in Pottsville.

Nativity raised $132,907 with a video featuring a mash-up of 16 songs by popular performers, and the video finishes with the school’s alma mater, sung by student in the school gym.

“Nativity students, faculty, staff, and entire school community truly represents the mission of our Catholic faith,” said Lynn Sabol, principal, and herself a “proud graduate” of the school.

“Knowing that we won last year’s title motivated our students to work that much harder on this year’s video,” said Jennifer Daubert, assistant to the principal at Nativity.

The top participation award was given to three schools this year. They all had over 100% participation. Previously called the “First Chair Winner,” the award is now called the “Crescendo” award, and the winners are: Good Shepherd Catholic School in Northampton, Mercy School for Special Learning in Allentown, and St. Joseph Center for Special Learning in Schuylkill County.

“We are so excited to be receiving this award,” said Beth Grys, principal of Mercy School for Special Learning. “Making the video is always a fun opportunity for us to come together and tell the Mercy story. We’re grateful for everyone’s support of our mission.”

The theme of Mercy’s music video is “Better Together,” and students and teachers can be seen singing and dancing to the song, “We’re All in this Together,” from the Disney movie, “High School Musical,” while wearing T-shirts bearing the words, “We’re Better Together.”

Of the shirts, Grys says, “We wore them on the first day of school and on many days throughout the year. It’s a good reminder that we all do better when we work together.”

“We are blessed that everyone came together through this competition to support the mission of Catholic education,” said Grys.

The music video by Good Shepherd features the song “The Greatest Show” from the 2017 movie, “The Greatest Showman.” Students dance through hallways, showing different aspects of their school experience, ending in the gymnasium with dancing, confetti flying, flag waving, and appearances by pastors of all feeder parishes and CYO mascot Rocky the Ram.

“The joy you see in this video is not an act; it’s what we see every day at Good Shepherd,” says Principal Susan Parker.

“Everyone at St. Joseph Center for Special Learning was so excited to hear that we won the Crescendo award in the 2024 Joyful Noise contest,” said Bob Giba, principal and CEO of St. Joseph Center for Special Learning.

Featuring the 2016 song “Unstoppable” by pop singer Sia, the video focuses on the first day of school experience for three new students at the school.

Throughout the video, we see the students gain confidence as they’re guided through hallways, meeting their teachers, and joining their new classrooms.

“We are so incredibly thankful to all of our donors who supported us. Our students and adults set a goal for themselves this year and totally knocked it out of the park,” said Giba. Saint Joseph Center “proved, without a shadow of a doubt, how ‘Unstoppable’ we truly are.”

Giba also credits the school mascot, JJ, who appeared in fun Facebook videos promoting the competition. In April, a video was posted to the school’s Facebook page showing JJ mischievously sneaking into Nativity’s school building and stealing their first-place trophy from last year’s competition.

“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, Broadway, Disney, and even some original compositions.

On the competition’s website, each school has a fundraising page where anyone was able to watch a video, cast a vote for their favorite video, and donate to the school.

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.”

Voting started on May 1 at midnight and ended Friday, May 31. There was no limit to how many times people could vote, and they were encouraged to vote for multiple schools.


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