In a tradition that goes back more than 20 years, today Grade 8 English classes re-enacted the trial scene from Harper Lee's classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. The tradition was started by former Middle School English teacher Cheryl Townsend in 2009, and, with the exception of last year, when School was closed due to COVID-19, each spring, Grade 8 students have taken on the roles of the judge, Scout, Jem, townspeople of Maycomb, the jury, and Atticus Finch himself to bring this scene to life.
For decades here at St Johns, Grade 8 students have studied this classic work of American literature, and many have embraced the opportunity to present a dramatized adaptation of this pivotal scene. St. Johns' Upper School students and alums fondly reminisce about their participation in this production. To Kill a Mockingbird is frequently cited as many adults’ favorite book to read in high school and was voted American's #1 favorite book in PBS' "Great American Reads" national survey.
"Through our careful reading, thoughtful reflection, writing activities, and class discussions, we have developed an appreciation for the depth and gravity of this thought-provoking novel," said Grade 8 English teacher Mrs. Thea Burke. "Many of the issues addressed in this novel resonate with readers and audiences today just as they did when the novel was first published in 1960. However, I think what still makes it such an influential work of literature are the uniquely memorable characters who bring this book to life."