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Northeast students show their love of literature

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Dec. 13, 2001
Jessica Love recently finished reading "Romeo and Juliet" for the first time and the ninth-grader said she loved it.
Love, a student at Northeast High School, also saw the critically-acclaimed 1968 film version. But she said she liked the play better and thinks she will read it again.
Asked why she loved it so much, she said: "The drama. The sadness, the tears and the joy."
Love is one of hundreds of ninth-graders across the state who are being introduced this school year to William Shakespeare's timeless love story what some call his masterpiece.
The Mississippi Department of Education, which sets standards for public schools, requires high school freshmen to study the play about young love.
So some high school English teachers, including Cheryl Ford who teaches Love's class are devising creative ideas to make the play as interesting as possible.
Ford, an English teacher for 32 years, assigned several projects to her students to coincide with a Shakespearean festival in her class last week.
The students also learned that Shakespeare's time is known as the "Elizabethan" period, named for Queen Elizabeth I of England.
The students assembled their own costumes and created masks like those worn at the masquerade ball where Romeo first became intrigued with his love. The students also danced in the style of the period.
Displays made by the students, showing life as it was some 400 years ago, were scattered around the classroom. On Friday, they showed their projects to eighth-graders who will study the play next year.
Justin Carter, who worked with Garrett on a display that showed what people did for fun in Shakespeare's time, said he liked the play because of its action.
Garrett and Carter created a shadow-box display with playing cards, dice, bowling pins, chess pieces and other items set up to tell classmates and guests how people spent their free time.
Another student in Ford's class, Stephanie Wells, said she wouldn't want to wear clothes from the period. But Wells admitted some of the costumes were "cute."
Wells also said she liked the play.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at