Roosevelt High School grad guest stars on ABC’s ‘Wife Swap’

Bethany Jones

Magic broom rides to Mars, fairies and elves were some of the highlights of last night’s ABC reality show “Wife Swap,” which featured a guest appearance by a 2001 graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent.

On last night’s episode, Wiccan High Priestess Bella Thompson from Georgia swapped places with Alison Askam, a 1950s traditional stay-at-home mom from Iowa.

Bella, 40, who also works as a loan officer, and her husband Kenny, 37, a tattoo artist, volunteered to be on the show in hopes of explaining their religion to a wide audience.

“It helped pull our culture into mainstream society,” she said. “Being a witch, we’re already so misunderstood. We want to educate people about what we do and who we are.”

Donnie Dionne, 22, of Kent is a member and a student of Bella’s. He was seen briefly in a few scenes, including one in which he spun fire.

Dionne met Bella at a Pagan spiritual gathering and has lived with the Thompson family for two years.

Dionne said the producers of the show only wanted a nuclear family, so while the show was filming he stayed with another coven member. A coven is an assembly of witches. Dionne said he loves entertainment, and although his guest appearance was small, he hopes it will help to get him noticed in the future.

Both women grew restless and broke down in tears several times during the first week of the show when they were forced to perform the daily tasks of the other woman.

The husbands’ tempers flared in week two during the rules change ceremony when each woman came up with new family rules.

Bella wanted the Askams to respect Alison more. She made Alison’s husband, Kyle, and son Austin do all the chores. She also encouraged creativity by having Austin draw on the walls.

Alison focused on family bonding by removing all Wiccan items from the house and kicking out the coven for a week. She also focused on family bonding by making mandatory sit-down family dinners.

During the course of the show, the Askams realized how hard it is to keep up a family home, and Kenny realized how he had been neglecting his family by spending so much time at work.

Toward the end of the episode, Kenny shattered a sacred plate that was the symbol of the coven. He did so because he said it helped the coven prosper and not his family. He vowed to stop putting the coven first and focus solely on the family.

Dionne said a lot of creative editing was done on the show, and that this scene was edited in a way that suggested he and other coven members had been kicked out of the house. He said nothing could be further from the truth.

Bella said the experience was great for her, and it helped her grow as a person.

“Not all moms are the same, and I am way more fun than other moms can be,” she said. “My daughter fire spins and does so on the show. We drum as a family, and we belly dance.”

Bella said as part of a contract she signed, she is not allowed to say anything negative about the show.

“I’m hoping that my 15 minutes of fame is going to be more like five,” she said.

Contact enterprise reporter Bethany Jones at [email protected].