JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – Lora Pirrello, an English teacher at Jamestown High School, and her 2022-23 Advanced Placement English Literature class were recognized by the New York State School Boards Association through its “Champions of Change” initiative during the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education’s Aug. 29 meeting.
Using a popular exercise activity and an increased access to music, last school year Pirrello tasked students in her 12th grade Advanced Placement English Literature course to create a playlist of songs that thematically relate to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Once completed, students then had the chance to participate in a unique extra credit activity: a spin cycling class using the music they had selected for their literary analysis.
The activity was a featured story in the Jamestown Post-Journal’s “Focus On Schools” section contributed to by the district.
“We had about 18 students come,” Pirrello said at the time. “The students were really energized by it. If they couldn’t attend the spin class on one of their days off, students had another extra credit opportunity to create a separate playlist on the book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.”
She added, “I figured that activities like these could help them resonate more with the book and think about it more deeply. I’m really pleased that they enjoyed it so much.”
Making the presentation to Pirrello on behalf of NYSSBA was JPS Board of Education member Christine Schnars, who serves as NYSSBA’s 2nd Vice President and Area 3 Director.