Friday, June 5, 2009

Noble High School Revisits the
Roaring 20s with Gatsby Party

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist

There has never been a high school gym full of better-dressed teenagers. Last Thursday, Janice Eldridge’s 10th grade U.S. History classes, and Joshua Gould’s 10th grade English classes at Noble High School created an evening inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel: The Great Gatsby. From the 1920s styles to the music to the dancing, it was an impressive sight to watch a bygone era come alive.
“Sophomores here at Noble High School read The Great Gatsby in English, and we study the 20s in Social Studies, so we decided it would be a good way to combine both of them in a fun way,” said Eldridge, one of the night’s organizers.
Slick looking black suits were the order of the day for the boys, with the classic “flapper” look the popular attire for the girls. Ties, fedoras and suspenders added to the overall classiness of an event that is now in its fourth year.
1920s jazz and swing music was provided by the 20-piece Noble High School Jazz Band. As the upbeat music blared, students showed off their swing dancing moves, as well as the recently learned “Charleston” 1920s dancing style. “When the right music comes on for the Charleston I can definitely do it,” claimed 10th grader Noelle LaCroix. “I learned (how to swing dance) from the Gatsby party last year, so I helped teach everybody this year.” Girls were being lifted, spun, twirled and tossed, with varying degrees of success.
A lounge with 12 tables was set up in front of the dance floor, allowing for a nice seat from which to watch the dancing. Students could also create 1920s-era jewelry at a table set up for beading. A grand buffet offered a wide array of “20s-era food,” all homemade by the students and set-up potluck style. “We have some movies from the 20s, some Charlie Chaplin that we’ll play later,” added Eldridge. Several parents and teachers lined the perimeter of the gym to take in the lively spectacle.
An exchange teacher added a new element to the annual event. “Ms. Sun is from China, and the game Mahjong became really popular in the 20s, so she brought an actual Mahjong game and is teaching the kids how to play,” Eldridge said.
The best part of the evening “was just hanging out with friends from around school,” according to 10th grader Dana Woodworth.
This 1920s celebration was originally scheduled to take place at the Hurd Manor in North Berwick, which had been offered up by owner Ben Gumm. Uncooperative weather, however, made organizers decide to move it into the Noble High School gym.
Whether they actually finished reading the entirety of The Great Gatsby novel or not, this unique high school project ensured that these students will never forget the high-flying lifestyle of the Roaring 20s.
Photo caption: Noble High School students dressed the part at the school’s Great Gatsby Party (Yuhong Sun photo)