By Ely Schosek
Elementary school is full of field trips, but in high school trips get bigger and more expensive. Rarely do high school students have the opportunity to go on a field trip that only lasts a single school day and is cost-free.
But last week, a number of SGI High School classes traveled to the Kavinoky Theatre in Buffalo to watch a production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Along with a couple of English classes, the SGI theatre students also enjoyed the show. One of the other classes was the Advanced Placement Language and Composition class, a group of only sixteen juniors.
Most of these students had read the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” in school, so seeing it presented in this format was a new and exciting experience for them.
Keaton Wnuk noted that it let them “visualize a classic novel” and see “what the time period was like.” Many students noted that it was a much different experience to see the storycome alive compared to reading the book.
Ben Sullivan added how interesting it was to “see a piece of literature in action.” Similarly, Melanie Barry noted that she enjoyed seeing the story “come to life.”
Numerous students later commented on the “great acting and props by the cast who perform their roles perfectly.” Olivia Giammarco mentioned that the play enabled them to see issues like racism that “have been present in our society for centuries in a new and different way.”
Melanie added that seeing it in front of her made her realize “how awful the racism was in the past.” Another student mentioned the feeling of such strong racism that the audience got and how it differed from just reading about it in books.
The play also enabled students to see how issues like segregation and discrimination affected various groups of people and even specific individuals within these groups.
The story involved a black man being falsely accused of raping a young white girl. When his case goes to trial, he is assigned a court-appointed lawyer who has little experience in criminal cases. This man was Atticus Finch. He didn’t have to take the job but he felt morally obligated to do what he could to help the accused man, Tom Robinson.
Annemarie Harrigan stated, “I learned that a mockingbird is considered to be innocent and that’s why the story is named that and that Tom was like a mockingbird.”
Ben noted that Atticus Finch was “impartial, smart and respected” in a very biased town. Keaton added that the conviction largely resulted from the “racist mindset of the deep south in the 1930s.” Charley DiGangi made a connection between this story and the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” in our society today.
Olivia also added that “plays and theater are an amazing way to spread the word on problems faced by many in a less confrontational way.” Likewise, Jaime Dickinson noted that “it’s important for kids to step out of the classroom and learn things in a different way.”
Not only was this show very informative, but it also contained many valuable lessons. Each student took away a slightly different lesson.
Keaton took is as a lesson on respect and learning from mistakes in the past. Nathan Cudney thought it was about not judging people when you don’t know what they’ve dealt with.
Ben took is as a lesson in standing up for others. Jaime saw it was a lesson on what kind of person not to be and learning from the past.
The students who attended this theatre show of “To Kill a Mockingbird” may have gone into it simply thankful for being able to miss school but they certainly left with some valuable lessons.