ELLINWOOD — In a take-off of the wildly popular book, “The Hunger Games’, students from Ellinwood Middle and High School enjoyed the day off from classes Wednesday to participate in a “The Hunger Games” day of their own making.
“It gets kids, adults and staff reading the same book and enjoying dialogue with everyone having the same focus,” said EHS Principal Shawn Henderson.”It’s team building, cross-curricular and athletic.”
The book is a young adult novel set in North America but with a twist. The world is post-apocalyptic. The hunger games are an annual event where one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts are selected to compete in a game that only one person can survive.
After watching the movie in the morning, the students went back to school in the afternoon. They, too, were divided into 12 districts of 16 students.
They then travelled from station to station participating in dodge ball, archery, artwork for their district, science and others. The districts were also judged on costumes. The winning team will travel to Wichita to watch the movie at the Imax theatre.
At one station, the students really did learn survival skills in case they ever need to eat insects or wild plants. At the “Is it edible or poisonous?” station, they were shown 70 pictures of insects and plants.
They learned that plants such as mountain laurel and belladonna are poisonous, while rose hips are edible. Insects such as viceroy are edible, while the monarch butterfly is not. The winning team got the most correct on the quiz. The teams were also judged on teamwork, staying on task and working well together with no criticism.
Librarian Sharon Sturgis also enjoyed the day. “A lot of students have read the book. They are on fire to read it,” she said. “They are really engaged.”
While the book was an assignment in some classes, the student body became enthused about it and read the book on their own in the lunch room or after school.
Henderson estimated that 95 percent of the students from every walk of life had read the novel.
Involving every staff member and student in the school, the day has taken a couple of months of planning.
“We started talking a couple of month ago,” Henderson said. A couple of teachers approached Henderson with the idea of taking their students to see the movie after they read the book.
“Everybody had a part, and it grew and grew with more momentum,” said the principal. “We wanted to make it unlike anything done at any other school.
“It’s been everything we hoped for and then some,” he said. “We put kids together that don’t regularly talk. Every staff member had a hand in this.”
Superintendent Ben Jacobs was also pleased. “It’s awesome. I feel it multi-faceted - it promotes literacy and community service. It gets kids excited about school.”
“Our school is a better place for this,” added Henderson.