To Hell and back

Addie Orr, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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A sign hangs above the entrance of the 200 hall, urging you to “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Screaming floods the empty corridor. A mysterious music fills your ears. Images of people in varying degrees of pain paint the usually barren walls of the hall. Grotesque creatures pace the walls of the hall. The end of the hall holds the most fearsome thing of all: Satan himself, with three heads, half encased in ice.

Every year, Humanities II students transform the 200 hall into a literal hell. Based off of the classic italian epic poem “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri, the sophomores must accurately interpret the work, and portray it in a meaningful way.

It felt unbelievable that we could have come together and pulled off something so complex and of such great magnitude.”

— Shaylee Richardson, sophomore

The project begins with the classes reading the novel and taking two weeks to have in depth discussions about its meaning and purpose.  

“Discussion of each chapter is important because it helps everyone get a clear idea of what’s going on,” sophomore Humanities II student Cecil Pulley said. “It’s cool because we’re all able to share our different interpretations of the story and incorporate those ideas into the hall.”

After the intense weeks of discussion, the conversation moves into the election of King and Queen of Hell, who, through the duration of the project, must be the sole leaders. As the only students allowed to talk to the teacher, Mrs. Glennda Bayron, much of the responsibility for the outcome of the project rests on their performance as  leaders. This year’s project laid on the shoulders of sophomores Samara Huckvale and Jojo Reiter.

“I wanted to be the Queen of Hell because I love being a leader” Huckvale said.

Once the king and queen were chosen, they categorize the work and divide it between the remaining students. Each category has a group leader and weekly meetings throughout the duration of the project.

“I placed people in groups based off of their work ethic and personal skills.” Huckvale said. “We needed to have group leaders to make sure each person in the group finished their work.”

Once divided, the teams get down to business, finding archetypes and symbolism, designing the look of the hall, composing their own music to give the hall an eerie feel and putting literary and historical figures into hell based around their actual sins. With only a couple of checkpoints along the way, the teams were on their own.

The classes poured hours into the hall, staying late to hang paper, cover lights, paint demons and more.
“The most challenging part of the project was keeping the integrity of Dante’s idea of Hell” sophomore Humanities II student Shaylee Richardson said. “While we have our own ideas of how we think it should look, we have to keep in mind the author’s intention and put ourselves in this mindset.”

At 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16, all hands had to be off the wall. Graded by AP English III students, many of whom did the hall themselves, hell hall is entirely out of the hands of the students. From this point forward, it’s judgement day. Each period, AP english III students grade the hall based on look, quality of work, thoughtful connections, and overall presentation.

The end result is a creepy, foreboding hall full of suffering and hours upon hours of work.

“It felt unbelievable that we could have come together and pulled off something so complex and of such great magnitude,” Richardson said. “I felt very accomplished and proud of the humanities program.”

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