Jimmy Ray Dobbs is a sarcastic and charming small-town heartthrob who dreams of getting away from his father’s overbearing expectations and seeing the world.
Luke Biely ’23 is the same age as the young Jimmy, the character he played in the fall Cue and Curtain production of Bright Star. However, that is the only similarity between Biely and Jimmy.
Auditioning for Bright Star, Luke expected a smaller role but was surprised when he landed the male lead. He freely admits that the play was the highlight of his first semester at Immaculata as he and his cast mates bonded during rehearsals and the four days of performances.
“The energy and enthusiasm Luke brought to our fall production of Bright Star was refreshing and unifying—it was a much-needed revitalization to the Cue & Curtain family,” states cast mate Laura Lindmeier ’20. “I can’t wait to see what he does over the next four years, and I truly look forward to coming back and visiting next year…as I’ll most definitely be crashing the cast party!”
It is this bond that Luke sought when he decided to live on campus. Although he only lives about 10 minutes away in West Chester, Pa., he wanted to live at Immaculata so that he could develop more independence and enjoy the total college experience. He was taking full advantage of his experiences until COVID-19 struck.
Last fall, Luke became an active student immediately upon his arrival. Besides his starring role in the play, he volunteers for the GetFit program, where he helps people with mental or physical disabilities exercise. He is also a member of the African American Culture Society, and he participated in a photo shoot for campus publicity. As much as he enjoys these activities, they do not distract Luke from the main reason he enrolled at Immaculata: teaching.
As a PreK-4 education major, he has always enjoyed working with young children, including serving as a camp counselor and helping with the toddlers at his church during Sunday school. Nevertheless, what piqued his interest in becoming a teacher is when he took a child development course during his freshman and sophomore years at West Chester East High School. The course allowed students to run a preschool for local families.
Jack was a little boy that Luke worked with during the program. Luke notes that he and Jack worked well together and that Luke kept a nice play-to-work ratio that allowed them to play tricycle laser tag in between practicing math and writing skills.
“I wasn’t just in the class for an easy A; I wanted to get to know Jack and the rest of our class, really wanting them to look forward to learning every day,” he says of this experience.
Luke also had the opportunity to take an education practicum in high school that provided a student-teaching assignment with fourth graders. It was this experience that propelled his desire to become an elementary teacher. He hopes to teach fourth grade.
Spending about half of the spring semester completing classes online, like most other college students across America, Luke misses his classes, professors and friends. However, he is making the best of the circumstances.
“For me, I know life can change in the blink of an eye, like we’re experiencing right now with this coronavirus. I’m trying to roll with the punches and stay optimistic for the future,” he says. “I can’t wait to return to Immaculata in the fall and see all of my amazing friends again.”