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Ghosts and ghouls take over school

November 2, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
Students walk around covered in blood, grueling scenes of torture and gloom, and monsters galore -- that was the scene at St. Joseph Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Austintown on Friday. The eighth-grade classes came together to provide a day of fun while expressing imagination and artistic skills.

“This started over 20 years ago when the school was just Immaculate Heart of Mary,” said sixth-grade teacher Caroline Mulhall, who helped coordinate the effort.

Building the haunted classroom took place on Thursday, Oct. 27 as the students put up black painted cardboard walls in less than two hours to form a series of winding halls. Mulhall said the cardboard panels are stored at the school because large pieces of cardboard are hard to find.

“When the haunted classroom is over, the walls are taken down and stored and any ruined ones are recycled,” Mulhall said.

She said the whole idea was started by Patricia Vlock, who served IHM for 42 years before retiring. Since that first one, the school staff have helped keep the tradition going.

Mulhall said she oversees the design of the maze, then the students are divided into groups of three or four. Each group is given one section of the maze and have to come up with an idea. It is an after school project that helps the students in working as a group, using artistic skills and their imagination.

The groups then set up their station and when 9 a.m. rolls around, the first class of younger students comes through. In the younger grades, the kids are given the choice of going through the haunted classroom with the lights off, or with them on. Mulhall said that way each student gets to enjoy it.

After the last class went through the maze, it was taken down and at 1 p.m., then entire school took part in the annual Halloween parade.

Article Photos

SJIHM eighth-grader Kathryn McCarthy watches as her classmate Shelby Lucas cures a headache for Kaelyn Puhalla using a rather gruesome meat cleaver. The scene was part of the school’s haunted classroom that has become a tradition for over 20 years.



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