Fort Myers High School Chapter
Fort Myers High School, Fort Myers, FL
For the high school students, entering a classroom is a habitual act that transitions their minds to the cycle of the school day. In the routine of classwork, quizzes, assignments, and homework, it can be easy to forget the excitement of the material. Students rushing to arrive to class and to turn in their study questions on Act II of Macbeth may have no time to appreciate Shakespeare’s eloquent words or perfectly timed rhythm. They may be so busy that they overlook the nuances of the author’s language or the iconic characterization of the characters we love to hate and hate to love. Individuals, rushing to finish the assigned chapter for the quiz, may even forget the simple enjoyment of hiding in a quiet corner and turning the pages of a novel.
The Fort Myers High School Chapter of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) wanted to remedy this and bring back the excitement of literacy. As a result, the chapter designed a project to reinvigorate interest in literature and throw some spice into an otherwise predictable routine. We utilized teams of five people to stay after school on a specific day and decorate a themed door based on a studied work of the classroom. The society listened to teachers requests about a particular work they would like to be seen on the door (past works have included doors decorated as In Cold Blood and Romeo and Juliet).
The impact within our chapter has been extremely positive. Pre-IB and IB English teacher Jennifer Tomlinson says of the project, “The door decorating project is wonderful! It not only allows the students producing the artwork to make creative connections to literature, but it is also an exciting way to draw the interest of the class about to read or already engaged in reading a piece of literature. A Romeo and Juliet door speaks to the students, ‘Open this door and step into the world of Shakespeare. You might get drawn in by the ‘star-crossed lovers.’” Members see their artwork as they enter the classroom and have enjoyed the positive reactions of teachers. The door also serves as a reminder to member commitment of the society and has encouraged the society to be more active and brainstorm further projects. Carly Toalson offered her room to the members who needed a large space to work on the project. Later, Toalson said, “I really liked how the NEHS team collaborated about the design of the door. Their dedication was also impressive to me; they spent many afterschool hours committed to the project.”
If other NEHS chapters were to replicate this project, our chapter would recommend measuring the dimensions of the door, decorating a piece of paper for the size of the door, and attaching the final product to the door (rather than attempting to decorate the door itself). We also would recommend being communicative and polite with teachers about what is intended to be done and to listen carefully to their requests (a teacher’s room is his or her temple). Our chapter was fortunate enough to have artistic volunteers who were very skilled with paint; when presenting this project to other chapters, make sure to let the artists of the society take the lead and express themselves. The project achieved its goal of promoting the excitement of literacy and made members of our chapter closer.
The Fort Myers students hope you are inspired to try a door decorating project of your own. Send your successes, ideas, or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.