St. Joseph's Regional Academy in Jim Thorpe was filled with the sounds of the Irish Friday as students celebrated St. Patrick's Day in style.

Students and teachers wore green, in honor of the holiday, and enjoyed a demonstration of Irish dancing by students of McElligott School of Irish Dance in Stroudsburg. The dancers ranged from 8- to 12 years old.

The dancers travel around the area from February until April, performing their numbers at schools and other events.

Prior to the show, Peggy Sue O'Donnell, Irish historian; Shari Beers, mission and charities; and Bernadette McGinley, treasurer, all of the Molly Maguires Division 1, Carbon County Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians announced the winners of their annual Irish History Essay contest. Sixth, seventh and eighth graders took part in the contest, writing about Irish castles

Winners included Rhiannon Malarkey, first; Michael Dubravski, second; Regan Carroll, third; David Boyd and Jacob Paluck, honorable mention.

The winners' essays will now be forwarded to the Pennsylvania state Irish historian for the state competition. Winners on the state level will be announced in late April.

Following the awards presentation, the Irish dancers were introduced and showed off their skills in a number of choreographed dances, including traditional steps, hard and soft shoe numbers, and three-hand and two-hand pieces.

The students enjoyed watching the dancers as they filled the auditorium with the sounds of Ireland.

To end the Irish festival, teachers announced the winners of the first annual Potato Pageant.

Students participated in the pageant by decorating a potato in a number of categories, including St. Patrick's Day, Silliest, School Spirit, Sports, Pop star, Prettiest, and Scariest. A total of 94 potatoes were entered in the pageant.