Arts Education

At St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, students enjoy a multitude of artistic enrichment opportunities in both the performing and visual arts. We offer the following programs to foster comprehensive growth.

Performing Arts


At St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, students can explore a range of instruments, including the violin, viola, and cello, through our orchestra program. Starting in Kindergarten, orchestra offers students the chance to showcase their talents twice a year: at our annual Christmas program and their final Spring String Recital in the spring.


Drama is available as an elective for students in sixth through eighth grade. The drama group concludes each year with a highly anticipated spring musical. Recent productions have included The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan. This year, students will perform Annie!


All sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students have the chance to join the Speech Team at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School. Our team participates in three tournaments hosted by Catholic high schools in the Seattle area. Last year, these tournaments took place in December, January, and February, with students traveling to Bishop Blanchet High School, Seattle Prep High School, and Archbishop Murphy Catholic High School. Typically held on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., these all-day events offer enriching experiences for our students.

Participating in these tournament-style events offers students an exceptional opportunity to hone their speaking skills. With each tournament, students undergo significant growth in their ability to communicate effectively. Additionally, being part of the Speech Team serves as excellent preparation for their high school years.

Speech Categories

  • Dramatic Interpretive Reading:  A reading of one or more selections from a book (prose), play or poetry that is serious in nature. TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (includes intro) – max = 8 minutes
  • Humorous Interpretive Reading: A reading from a book, play or poetry that is humorous in nature. Introduction YES; TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (includes intro) – max = 8 minutes
  • Duo Interpretative Reading:  A cutting from a published prose or play involving two or more characters. Material can be humorous or serious and is presented by two individuals. This is not an acting event (no costumes, props, etc.). Introduction YES; TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (includes intro) – max = 8 minutes
  • Editorial CommentaryThe student will take a position and present a speech he/she has prepared on a topic of current interest/concern. NO Introduction: STRICT TIME LIMIT: 1 minute/45 seconds to 2 minutes
  • Impromptu:  Students must “think on their feet” and deliver an organized presentation without the use of notes or other material. The contestant will have two minutes to prepare and will then speak for a maximum of five minutes on one of the choices. NO Introduction: TIME LIMIT: 1 – 5 minutes
  • Oratory: This is a memorized speech written by the student to persuade the audience. Speech must be the original work of the speaker (with no more than 100 words of quoted material). NO Introduction: Memorized: TIME LIMIT: 6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (max = 8 minutes)
  • Expository:  This is a speech written by the student to inform the audience. You will describe, clarify, explain and/or define an idea, object, concept, or process. Visual aids (props) are allowed. Mostly memorized: TIME LIMIT:  6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes (max = 8 minutes)

Visual Arts

Art Docent Program

Visual arts provide students with a platform to explore diverse mediums such as painting, drawing, sketching, collage, and beyond. Our art docent program is crafted to introduce students to renowned art and artists, delve into the various elements of art, and empower them to create their own “masterpieces” alongside parent docent volunteers. Each spring, our annual art show proudly displays the exceptional projects crafted by our students.

The SMM Art Docent Program was initiated in 2007 by the retired teacher Monnica Peinado and is now overseen by our current Art Docent Coordinator, Jem Roberts. Funding for the program primarily stems from Parents Club contributions generated through our BOX TOPS fundraising efforts. Volunteers play a vital and steadfast role in the Art Docent program, visiting classrooms each month to introduce students to Master Artists, Art History, and the Elements and Principles of Art.

Become an Art Docent!

Art provides students with a canvas to unleash their creativity, free from the constraints of boundaries or rules. They are encouraged to interpret art lessons through their personal creativity, resulting in original and cherished artworks.

Our program is tailored to simplify the process, ensuring that volunteers feel prepared, empowered, and enthusiastic about visiting the classroom either monthly or for a one-time experience. To sign up, click here.


We aim to:

  • Introduce students to Master Artists and their contributions to global and cultural art forms.
  • Examine the Elements of Art (line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space) as the foundational components of art.
  • Recognize that the Principles of Art (balance, emphasis, proportion, movement, pattern, variety, unity) are essential tools for creating art.
  • Challenge students to explore various art media, including paints (paint, pastel, markers, crayons), papers, printmaking, pencil, and sculpture.
  • Emphasize that visual arts instill in students appreciation, knowledge, creativity, and expression for both artistic and academic success.


  • Set a date and time (which may require 2 sessions) with the Teacher.
  • Locate the grade you are visiting below under “Resources”.
  • Select a project listed under that grade.
  • Follow the links to learn about the artist/element involved.
  • Access the link to lead the project.
  • Gather the necessary materials and a sample of the project (if available, or create your own).
  • Most projects can be adapted to suit all grade levels (use your imagination or request assistance).
  • Feel free to discover/create your own grade-appropriate lesson using the Mission as your guide. Try searching “art docent lessons” on the web.
  • And most importantly, HAVE FUN! The students absolutely adore Art Docent Days!