Seventh Grade Students Shine on the Silver Screen

A photograph of the audience


On June 6, 2018, Lavelle Prep held its 7th annual Film Festival at The Atrium movie theater.

Held each year, the event is a culmination of the cross-curricular work that took place throughout the 7th grade, as students learn about local historical events while acquiring and practicing dramatic and performative skills.

This year, 7th grade Drama Teacher and project lead Lee Poerio explains the students were very interested in the concept of historical accuracy ,and were fascinated by the strange facts of the two original Staten Island court cases, the Polly Bodine murder trial and the State of NY vs. John Thomson and Ray Tompkins with the burning of the Marine hospital (aka the Quarantine Hospital.)

The students researched the trial transcripts and articles on the both cases that took place in the mid-1800s in our very own neighborhoods. Through cross-curricular studies, students expanded their learning and investigations in unique ways, for example, focusing on the economy of the time period in Math, historical accuracies in Social Studies, and the concept of motives and mob mentalities in English Language Arts. Then, in Drama. Class, students read excerpts from the trials, examined articles and books, and formatted original scripts.

Thanks to our partnership with Historic Richmond Town,  these trials soon came to life and hen through film, audience members got to see how these court cases through the students eyes, and through a dramatic lens.

With the hard work culminating before their very eyes, Ms. Poe said, “My favorite day of the year is today. Today,  I see the most beautiful inquisitive young adults.  Their faces light up when they see themselves on the big screen.”

She adds, “I am proud to be their 7th grade teacher and I am proud of Lavelle prep’s 7th grade team. It truly is a wonderful memory and experience.”  

Principal Chris Zilinski shares the sentiment explaining, “We all look forward to this day each year, and yesterday was no exception. The students have the unique opportunity to see themselves at the movies, which is usually something people can only dream about. They also get to see their hard work come into fruition, which is motivating and rewarding both academically and personally.”

Lavelle Prep would like to thank our gracious hosts, The Atrium movie theatre, as they were kind enough to enhance the experience by providing each student with complimentary popcorn, fruit punch and a snack. 

Our students had the best seats in the house while making ton of memories.