Beyond Forgiveness: The Gould Graphic Novel Project
“You are a prisoner in a concentration camp. A dying Nazi soldier asks for your forgiveness. What would you do?”
This prompt has been the driving question behind our work in European Literature all trimester. Through purposeful dialogue and thoughtful reflection, we have complicated our ideas of what it means to forgive someone. Looking critically and carefully at context, intent, and outcome, we further explored this idea through an in-depth project-based assignment.
For the past three weeks, European Literature students have been working collaboratively with one another, honing their creative and critical thinking skills through the creation of original, historically accurate graphic novels. Tasked with developing a setting that is the source of a modern-day genocide while the conflict explored a question of forgiveness, the assignment challenged students in all four areas of Gould’s academic mission: engage with the world, inquire using disciplined critical thinking and research skills, collaborate with peers and mentors, and demonstrate the virtues of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion.
The final products included a title page, back cover synopsis, an introduction, a 12-18 page storyboard, MLA citations, and individual self-reflections. The project culminated in an Exhibition Night held in the Marlon Family IDEAS Center. In lieu of a traditional exam, each group delivered a 60-second pitch to both the entire tenth grade class and guest faculty judges with the goal of convincing the audience to read their publications. The published graphic novels along with a large, single page print were on display for the entire community.
The judges had their work cut out for them as all of the graphic novels displayed creativity, insight, and quality collaboration within the groups. Prizes were awarded in four categories: Best Overall, Best Pitch, Best Cover Art, and Best Single Page. It cannot be stressed enough how difficult a task the judges took on as each group demonstrated tremendous courage and pride in their pitches and in their exhibition of their novels. After much deliberation between the judges, prizes were awarded to the following groups:
Best Single Page: Cargo
Steffi Ordway, Caroline Newell, Aidan Ryan, and Finn McLaughlin
Best Cover Art: The Truth Will Always Be Revealed
Taylor Mull and Austin Colby
Best Pitch: Breaking the Silence
Sylvia Shi, Russell Zeng, Eamon Wakefield, and Dylan Rivard
Best Overall: Reminiscence
Cammy Simard, Chaia Alford, Sam Dickinson, and Myles Barrett