D123 Ed Foundation Grants Students Field Trip to Attend To Kill a Mockingbird Play

8th graders enjoying To Kill a Mockingbird at Broadway in Chicago

8th grade Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students were provided an invaluable opportunity thanks to the District 123 Education Foundation! 

Ms. Jill Bleski, 8th grade ELA teacher, saw an email in the fall of the advertisement for the play. Scholars read the novel To Kill a Mockingbird in 8th grade as well as analyze the similarities and differences between the text and film. Ms. Bleski shared her findings with the other 8th grade ELA teachers, Mrs. Stavrou, Ms. Danos, and Mrs. Merkle, and they all agreed this would be a perfect field trip opportunity for students! Ms. Bleski stated, “We thought it would be interesting to add an additional layer of analysis to this conversation and also give students a chance to go downtown and experience the arts.”

The 8th grade ELA teachers knew that Broadway in Chicago tickets could be a hefty expense for the middle school students and their families, so they sought out the District 123 Education Foundation for assistance. After brainstorming all of their resources, Ms. Bleski and Ms. Danos presented the proposal and it was quickly approved!

Sixty students who read the novel and were interested in attending the field trip turned in a permission slip and a small fee. Ms. Bleski and Mrs. McCarthy, OLHMS Media Specialist, chaperoned the field trip on Saturday, May 23rd. Eli reflected on this opportunity: “This was a special opportunity because we got to see To Kill a Mockingbird through different mediums, like the novel, the film and the play. The novel had a more serious tone, the film had a classic tone, and the play presented a more humorous tone. These mediums worked together to help my understanding of many things, like perspective, and it brought literature to life. I was so happy and grateful we had this opportunity.”

8th grade student, Faris, explained that “this opportunity was special for me because it was my first time going to a theater of this size and I experienced a play about a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and loved. I will absolutely go to another play because this experience was so great.”

Marilyn also shared, “This was the first time I’ve been to a play and I’ve never gone on a field trip where we got to see a book come to life. We usually do not have opportunities to take field trips like this, but I’m so happy we had this special opportunity. It was a once in a lifetime chance, especially to go downtown with my classmates…The acting was the best because the actresses and actors really showed their emotions, made the book come alive, and displayed the characters as they were in the book.”

Every student who attended the play had a favorite moment. Most students were in awe of how beautiful the Nederlander Theater was and how large it was compared to the outside of the building.

Eli said, “Before we got to the theater, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. When we walked into the theater, it was this massive, beautiful and vibrant building. I have never seen or experienced anything like this before - I was taken back, in a great way.”

Selena said that her favorite part about the trip was, “Everything! From the bus ride downtown, to the theater, to the amazing play, I absolutely loved every part of Saturday.”

8th grader, Julia, wrapped up her experience with thanks to the District 123 Ed Foundation: “We are so grateful for our school, and especially for the Ed Foundation for sponsoring our trip. Going downtown to watch the play with my peers is a memory that I will always remember and cherish. If it was not for the Ed Foundation funding this trip, I would have never been able to attend this experience.”

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