Freshman Year Quickly Becoming an Odyssey for Accelerated Bonita Students

September 15, 2009
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Head of Odysseus from a Greek 2nd century BC marble group representing Odysseus blinding Polyphemus, found at the villa of Tiberius at Sperlonga

Head of Odysseus from a Greek 2nd century BC marble group representing Odysseus blinding Polyphemus, found at the villa of Tiberius at Sperlonga

By Lauren Clark




The Greek poet Homer may wonder just what the gods were thinking when the Bonita High School Accelerated Freshmen Core performs “The Odyssey – The Musical” on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 at Las Flores Park Pool at 7 p.m. for parents and community.

Set to mostly 80s Pop music (primarily for their parents’ enjoyment), the 102 students have broken into groups of 12, each responsible for telling their part of the journey of Odysseus, the Trojan warrior, as he spends 10 years getting back home to Ithaca, after spending a previous 10 years in the Trojan War.

Upon introduction to Archimedes’ Principle in their Accelerated Physical Science class, as well as geography from their Freshmen Studies class, the students must apply what they have learned by building their own raft for the project. Each group is responsible for building its own 4 x 8-ft. raft, buoyed by almost 200 2-liter plastic bottles, upon which to float their scene to the key stage area of the Mediterranean Sea, otherwise known as the Las Flores Park Pool.

After reading The Odyssey in their English classes, the students must select a scene, write their own scene to perform, select their music, and produce a newspaper as citizens of 800 B.C.E., the estimated time when Homer wrote The Odyssey.

A successful program in its 17th year, the Accelerated Core program requires students to work together to combine their skills and knowledge introduced in their classes and apply them to produce high-profile projects four times a year. Freshmen Studies teacher Bob Turner, Physical Science teacher Larry Thompson, and English teachers Skip Clague and Lauren Clark have guided the students through such yearly projects as “The Odyssey,” Amusement Park Attraction Designing, Rube Goldberg machine building, and teaching science lessons to local elementary school children.

The Accelerated Core program won the California State Golden Bell Award in 1996, the highest award given by the state of California for school curriculum.

Students must indicate what they know about their topics by contributing to a group newspaper that reflects the theme of their scene from the story. They must write articles about Archimedes’ Principle, Equal and Unequal Forces, scene descriptions, an interview with one of the Greek gods, travelogue of a Greek city-state, literary corner, Op-Ed, and a Letter to the Editors section. The group newspapers will be enlarged and set up for viewing by the parents during the night of the musical.

Scenes (in order) to be performed to mostly 80s Pop music include:

1. The Gods on Mt. Olympus

2. The Lotus Eaters

3. Bag of Winds

4. The Witch Circe

5. The Land of the Dead

6. The Sirens

7. Monsters Scylla and Charybdis

8. The Cattle of the Sun God

9. Argus, the Dog

10. The Suitors/ Odysseus’ Revenge

11. Reuniting with Penelope/Restitution to the Gods


“The Odyssey – The Musical” is free of charge. Gate opens at 7 p.m. The address at Las Flores Park Pool is 3175 Bolling Avenue, La Verne. For more information, call (909) 971-8220 .

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