Students and Teachers Eagerly Await 8th Grade Oscars Ceremony


Elyse LaPorta

In the Middle School, plans are in the works for an exciting Oscars celebration this year, although it will be different from years past.  After students read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, they have to make a creative film of one of the scenes; this includes acting, costumes, scriptwriting, camera work, and lots of editing. Normally, these projects are done in groups of four to five students; however, this year teachers decided to have students work individually, to comply with COVID-19 protocols. Last year, projects were also individual, and according to teachers, they met all expectations. “There are some benefits to actually seeing what each student can come up with on their own . . . and they are forced to come up with a video on their own that represents their creative side but also their understanding of the play,” says English teacher Francisco Simbana. 

Additionally, teachers and faculty alike have been receiving the same question: How are the Oscars going to work this year? As one of the highlights of eighth grade, The Oscars were recently held in Ogelsby and are a celebration for eighth-graders and a chance to award students for their films. “We are still trying to figure out how it’s going to work, the actual ceremony. Last year, we were all on Zoom, and normally we would do it in Ogelsby, as a big celebration,” explains Simbana. With details still in the works, the main idea for the 2021 Oscars is sure to exceed expectations and be an enjoyable night for students. Simbana explains what the English department is arranging. “Right now, we are planning on having it in the stadium on the field, on the Jumbotron, and set up stands on the field for the students and have the parents be on the bleachers.”

While teachers get excited for the Oscars and this year’s films, students are equally excited about the freedom that comes with the project. 8th grader Margaret Anderson says, “My favorite part about the Romeo and Juliet project is having the freedom to be creative with our films.” Students agree that even though working in groups is fun, they are looking forward to seeing all of their friends’ projects and how each film will be different. “I love how we get to put [the play] up to our own interpretation and adapt it to our own interests,” says 8th grader Kate Castle.

Furthermore, because of the lack of social events for the eighth grade this year, students are eager for this year’s Oscars, especially the chance to socialize with friends, watch the winning films, and the overall fun of connecting with the entire grade. “We haven’t really had an opportunity like this this year,” says 8th grader Hayden Githuku, “and it’s so interesting to see everyone connect their film-making skills with literature and make the play modern in a way that connects to us.” Likewise, 8th grader Anna Banner says, “I’m excited for the Oscars because I can’t wait to see who wins all the awards.”

All in all, students agree that the project is a way for all students to create something of their own, and adapt something like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into an interesting modern retelling.