In the second half of the last school year, eight remarkable students spanning from Grades 6 to 8 embarked on a unique educational journey. Their mission? To weave together the threads of history, music, and literacy into a captivating showcase of the era of the French Revolution.
At first glance, it may seem like a historical presentation of the French Revolution coupled with a medley of songs from Victor Hugo’s literary masterpiece, “Les Misérables.” Yet, this event offered an immersive experience that spoke volumes about the power of interdisciplinary education.
Alisa, G9 student, remembered some of the moments: “The topic grew on me. As time passed, I started to feel that this combination of music, history, and literature was really strong. If you know how to control your emotions and connect with the musical theater, you can show the audience the history that is covered behind the French Revolution and the musical. Singing in front of an audience was challenging for me. I used techniques that our teacher Mr. Seay taught us, and that was really helpful. I am really keen on exploring new things and new themes, as I dive deeper, some of the techniques I learned also helped me understand other things better, for example, allegories that many writers from that time used. Many will think that when you put a G6 and G8 together, nothing good comes from it. But when preparing, rehearsing for the show, and sharing tricks with one another, you get a sense of friendship and identity and I became friends with many people from that exploratory. We all cheered for one another during the solos.”
With meticulous attention to detail, our students transformed themselves into living embodiments of Hugo’s iconic characters. They had thoroughly researched the period, studying literature, watching performances, and looking into French history and the music at the time. The authenticity of their attire, the precision in their delivery, and the depth of their immersion were nothing short of outstanding, each performing a piece of their character. As they sang the songs of the oppressed, the downtrodden, and the hopeful, it became clear that this was not merely a history lesson or a musical interlude. It was an invitation to step into the shoes of the past, to feel the heartbeat of another era, and to apply its lessons to improve our present.
Ahead of the performance, eager spectators were ushered into an exhibition showcasing authentic artifacts from the tumultuous era of the French Revolution, each artfully explained by the very students who would soon transport us back in time.
In the end, it was not us, who needed to proclaim the interdisciplinary marvel that had unfolded before our eyes. The audience witnessed an experience where history, music, and literature merged in perfect harmony. The boundary between academic disciplines had blurred, and in its place emerged a powerful testament to the endless possibilities of learning when we dream beyond our classrooms.