Learning is Always En VOGUE: Onekama Students Take a Trip to the Theater

In some ways, it was a typical day in eighth grade English class. Students settled in with the story, examined characters and plot lines, looked for examples of conflict and resolution, and prepared themselves to discuss their ideas and reactions with their classmates.

It was almost typical class. Except this one involved popcorn.

On Tuesday, December 2, the eighth grade students of Onekama School spent the morning at The Vogue Theatre on River Street in Manistee. Students were given a private showing of The Giver, a film based on the book of the same title by Lois Lowry, which the students recently finished reading.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course the movie and the book had some differences, but they always do in this sort of situation,” commented eighth grader Nolan Van Brocklin. “People that loved the book will definitely love the movie, and people that hated the ending of the book will probably feel happier with the ending of the movie. I liked the experience, and I appreciate that The Vogue was able to do that for us.”

The Giver tells the story of a seemingly perfect community – without war, pain, suffering, differences, or choice – and a young boy who is chosen to hold the memories of the past in order to protect the community and preserve Sameness. The novel won the Newberry Award medal for excellence in youth fiction in 1994.
“Before there was The Hunger Games or Divergent, there was The Giver,” commented Onekama middle school English teacher Megan McCarthy. “It is a fine example of dystopian literature and an engaging novel, one that led to some excellent classroom discussions.”

“I am incredibly grateful to Travis Alden for making this opportunity possible for my students,” added McCarthy. “The Vogue Theatre is an amazing resource for our community, and I am thrilled that my students were able to extend their study of the novel by seeing the text transformed into a screenplay.”

After students returned to school, they began the task of writing a comparative essay, in which they described the similarities and differences between the book and the film.
The movie – and the theater – received a Two Thumbs Up review from this group of eighth grade critics.

“The field trip to go see the film The Giver was astonishing. Every detail was well played out, and everything just kind of flowed together perfectly. It was a cliffhanger for sure; it had me guessing what was going to happen next every second throughout the film,” said student Katelyn McGrady.

Added McGrady: “And the experience of going to The Vogue was remarkable. The people were all so very nice, and of course it was extremely kind of them to let us come to there movie theater and show us the film. Everything about The Vogue was phenomenal! I’m so very glad and thankful we got to go see it.”