Students booked into costume contest

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

A table of "Outsiders" wait for their turn to speak to judges of P.S. Jones' first "Come as a character" event. Pictured counter-clockwise from top left, Abi "Johnny Cake" Moreno, Jose "Johnny Cake" Gamboa, Jacob "Ponyboy" Smith, Mason "Dallis" Clement (holding paper rolled into the shape of a cigarette), Connor "Ponyboy" Smith, Tymeek "the social" Cobb and Hank "Soda" Maudlin. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)


Eighth-grader Tymeek Cobb slid a $100 bill into the hands of two contest judges.
“Just in case this is a hard decision,” he told them with a syrupy smile.
The bribe worked. After all, isn’t that what a “social” would do?
Cobb and about 100 fellow P.S. Jones Middle School students participated in a costume contest this week.
In honor of October being National Book Month, media coordinator Paula Hopper held a costume contest and pumpkin-decorating contest.
Language arts classes were asked to decorate a pumpkin in the theme of a book they had read. Classes with the top three entries were invited to a pizza party.
The winning class turned a pumpkin into a football player, “Moose,” a character in the young adult football novel “Just Once.”
Also at the pizza party were Cobb and a gang of fellow “Outsiders.”
Students had to do more than dress up (and offer bribes). They were asked about their characters and judged by their knowledge of the characters and books. Thirty of the best costumes were invited to the pizza party.
Judges, all volunteer moms, were treated to synopses of “The Outsiders” from about a dozen perspectives. Every language arts teacher had taught the S.E. Hinton book.
Mason Clement came as Dallas Winston. He sat with fellow greasers (two Johnny Cakes, two Ponyboys, a Soda and two Sandys), his feet propped on a table, “cigarette” (rolled up paper) in his mouth and waited for his turn with the judges.
When asked to put his feet down, Clement answered in character.
“No, I don’t follow the rules. We’re greasers,” he said.
Hopper said the rare opportunity to wear jeans to school made the Hinton characters an appealing choice.
“We think this is the first time students have ever gotten to come out of dress code, never mind costumes,” Hopper said.
Because of the dress code, Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps had to approve the event. Hopper said she “about died” when she heard he had approved it.
First and second place costumes for each grade received a Walmart gift card. Honorable mentions went home with a new book.
Genevieve Belote earned first place in the seventh grade division. She came as “The Raven” from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem of the same name.
“I love that poem,” Belote said. “The poem expresses his sorrow for losing his wife.”
Belote practiced drawing feathers then painted a few on her face and arms. She borrowed a dress from her mother.
“Katniss,” Mary Grace Wilder, had to guide “Coraline,” Abby Harris to the panel of judges. As it turns out, seeing with button eyes is hard to do.
“Somehow I managed to (apply buttons to my eyes) and it kinda hurts,” Harris said.
The event was a first at the school. Previous book months involved reading contests. Students who wrote the best book report and read the most books were invited to the pizza party.
Hopper said students worked so hard already. She hated adding to the workload.
“I thought, ‘These poor children’ and decided this year I wanted to do something fun,” she said.
The number of students who participated impressed assistant principal Kimberly Gibbs. She was also pleased to see that the students had a strong comprehension of what had read.
“They really took it seriously. I’m just really impressed,” Gibbs said. “That’s the thing about middle school students. You just never know what to expect.”

Costume contest winners
Sixth grade
First Place: Erin Swanner as “Katniss” from “The Hunger Games”
Second Place: Destiny Cobb as “Katniss” from “The Hunger Games”

Seventh grade
First Place: Genevieve Belote as “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe
Second Place: Megan Williams as “Judy Moody”

Eighth grade
First Place: Bryan Williams as Stanley from “Holes”
Second Place: Hank Modlin as “Sodapop” from “The Outsiders”

Pumpkin contest winners
First place: “The Moose” from “Just Once” from Mrs. Landen’s second period class.
Second place (tied): “Dragon, Dragon” written by John Gardner from Mrs. Landen’s fifth period class and “Bride and Groom” from Dancer’s second period class.