Junior Michael Swearingen saw The Hunger Games twice in the first 12 hours after it came out. He went to see it with friends at midnight on Thursday, the night it opened, and then his CIS Literature class went to see it the next morning during school. He arrived home from the movie at 3:30 a.m. on Friday and had to wake up for school and his second viewing at 6 a.m..
“I woke up shaking,” said Swearingen. “When my mom saw me she said ‘Was it worth it?’ and I said ‘We’ll see’. Then I must have looked miserable because she handed me a caffeine pill and said ‘Here, you’ll need this’. By the time the caffeine started to wear off I was a little dizzy. I wouldn’t recommend doing it but not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome. It was a one time experience that I’ll never do again, but I don’t regret it.”
For the rest of the students and the two teachers that went to The Hunger Games during school, the experience was a little less exhausting. English Teacher Denise Wahlin-Fiskum and Reading Teacher Kate West took their first block students to a special showing at Buffalo Theater where they were the only viewers. West’s students read all three Hunger Games novels in class and loved them, so she had the idea to set up this trip. They didn’t have enough people to fill a bus, but when Wahlin expressed interest they decided to go together.
“My students loved the books,” said West, “which is pretty rare for a book that was read in class. Usually about 50% like it, but this time I think it was 99%. They liked the book so much that they were a little disappointed with the movie because it couldn’t possibly fit in all the details. As a reading teacher that’s good to hear. Going into it I wanted them to like the movie, but if they said they liked the book better I would be happy, too, because usually these kids like movies better.”
West’s students thought that too many important details were left out of the movie. Since they read the books first, that made the film seem worse.
“It was good, but it didn’t compare to the book,” said Sophomore Cody Anderson. “They could have done a lot better because they cut a lot of scenes from the film. Like at the end, the dogs didn’t have any resemblance to the hunger games participants like they were supposed to. They just looked like giant bulldogs.”
“It was worth it because I got to see the students get excited about a book,” said Wahlin. “They experienced what happens when a book catches your attention and yanks you in. I think I laughed the hardest at [Junior] James Smith because he has that belt that you can program words into and they flash across it. He was so excited and he programmed ‘Hunger Games’ into it for the day. We all had Hunger Games nail polish too, we definitely got sucked into the hype.”