Ninth grade students from across Lower Merion School District recently demonstrated their complex understanding and interpretation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet through the design of creative projects in the first annual "Golden Rose Awards" held in the Lower Merion High School auditorium. The ceremony brought together students from Harriton and Lower Merion to celebrate the hard work students put into their Shakespearean studies. The title of the ceremony itself comes from a combination of "The Golden Globes" and Shakespeare's infamous "rose by any other name."
Project categories ranged from scene reenactments and soundtracks best capturing the mood and tone of the play to costume/jewelry designs and graphic novel scene illustrations. Students worked diligently on their craft and discovered their inner strengths in the process, giving them the opportunity to showcase their talent and originality to teachers, friends, and classmates.
During the initial stages of the activity, students proposed their vision of the project. They selected a category, planned what materials or equipment they needed for implementation, anticipated any challenges that could arise, and discussed their roles in completing the final piece. Moving forward, students put forth plenty of time and effort into their projects as they worked both inside and outside of class. Their teachers felt their enthusiasm and dedication as students collaborated with their peers, explored new technologies, and applied creative abilities. Students then composed a reflective piece in which they identified successes and challenges they encountered during the project. They discussed their overall experience and what they learned from the Shakespeare unit. They also presented the projects to their English classes.
The best projects were then honored at the Golden Rose Awards. Considering the quality and creativity of the submissions, the ninth grade English teachers had a difficult time selecting the winners. After thorough collaboration and discussion, they chose one project from each category at each high school that best captured the overall theme and emotions in Romeo and Juliet while successfully incorporating unique talent and imagination. At the Golden Rose Awards ceremony, students from both schools exuded genuine excitement for their peers.
"Displaying students' final products served as a rewarding experience for our staff and pupils," said LMHS English teacher Saher Masoodi. "We are sincerely proud of our students' hard work! These Romeo and Juliet projects are a perfect example of students' drive and motivation to excel as learners and talented young adults. The English department is already looking forward to next year's awards."