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On September 30, 2013 at 10:30 a.m., Saint Raphael Academy was joined by representatives from the Joseph C. & Blanche Coutu Foundation, the Diocese of Providence, Vision 3 Architects, and E. Turgeon Construction Corporation for a formal groundbreaking ceremony of the Joseph & Blanche Coutu Theater.
To understand the spirit of the ceremony, we offer Mr. Murray’s remarks from that day:
Bishop Tobin, Members of the Couto Foundation, Honored and Invited Guests, Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students of the St. Raphael Academy Family.
Good Morning. My name is Terry Murray and I am a teacher and director for the drama club here at the Academy.
It is an honor and a privilege to share a few words with you today.
In 1928, as a joint venture between Bishop Hickey and the DeLasalle Christian Brothers, the foundation was dug for a new school and gymnasium to be known as St. Raphael Academy.
Since that time, this building has witnessed numerous events. There have been basketball games, band concerts, physical education classes, liturgies, musicales, pep rallies, talent shows, Auxiliary teas, fashion shows, plays, musical revues, boxing matches, minstrel shows, and dances, where some even met their future bride or groom, despite the brother’s efforts to “make room for the Holy Spirit.” If these walls could talk—what stories we’d hear!
I have been extremely fortunate to share a history with this building for the past thirty-four years. I have first-hand experience in how an arts program effects the lives of young people. Participating in the arts builds self-esteem, fosters confidence, and teaches teamwork. It allows students to share their talents and discover talents they never knew they had.
Whether it be music, visual arts or performing arts, a student’s life is enriched by their involvement, and they will carry that experience with them the rest of their life.
The construction of the Joseph and Blanche Coutu Theater provides a home for the arts here at St. Raphael Academy. A home that will help the arts program grow and flourish and a home that will continue the legacy started 85 years ago.
This theater will provide a space to showcase the talents of our students today and the talents of students in all of the todays in the future.
As part of this new home, we are excited to give our alumni, supporters, and student families the opportunity to own a piece of this new space. At the reception following this ceremony, you can find paperwork presenting you the opportunity to have a plaque engraved and mounted on a seat in the Couto Theater. The best seat in the house WILL be the one with your name on it.
Thank you and God Bless.
For great summaries of the event, check out two great articles from local newspapers covering the event:
- The RI Catholic’s October 3, 2013 article, “Creating a new home for the arts in dramatic fashion”
- The Pawtucket Time’s October 1, 2013 article, “A place for the arts”
A photo gallery of the event appears below. (Click any image to view a full screen version.)