American Idol: mocking hits edition


Emma Ratliff

During seventh hour English I, freshmen Molly Sewester, Kendall Welch and Brigit Hennessey perform “Not Gulty and I Know It.”

American Idol Mocking hits edition just finished their fourth season. English teacher Michelle Kerpash assigned her freshman English classes an assignment where they re-wrote song lyrics to fit the story line of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” They had three to four judges each class period. Counselor Chris Lorenz has judged all four years.

“I pick the winner.  It was based on a meticulous process of scrutinizing vocals, choreography and presentation,” Lorenz said. “The best part about it was being able to see the wide-variety of creativity that our students bring to the stage, or classroom.”

Kerpash started this in 2009 as a fun way for kids to review for their “To Kill a Mockingbird” test. She got the idea from Jenn Ritter, a student teacher, who tried it out own when American Idol first aired.

“I always love to see how students can take a popular song and adapt it to fit their character. On the surface, it looks like an easy or fluff activity, but there is a lot of work involved. In order to make a song work, students have to try out, throw out and add in so many different details from the story. I also like showing and watching the winners from previous years. Each class seems to raise the bar a little higher each year,” Kerpash said.

One of this year’s winning groups consisted of freshmen Megan Loaney, Julia Blatchford, Lueking Knabe and Jordan Neisler. They re-wrote the lyrics of Talyor Swift’s Song “I Knew You Were Trouble.” They titled their song “Trouble” because Scout and Jem from “To Kill a Mockingbird” always caused trouble.

“We spent two days preparing and writing lyrics, but we only had 15 minutes to practice,” freshman Jordan Neisler said, “We really concentrated and always stayed on topic which helped us a lot.

Another winning group was freshmen Katie Hornsby, Ellie Workman and Faisal Shurafa. They titled their song “Who’s Boo,” to the tune of “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green.

“I was excited to perform because we were the last group, so we got to finish the show,” Hornsby said. “I knew ours would be the best.”

Kerpash plans on continuing do this activity and might even try it with other books in the future.