South Orangetown Central School District

A “Superhero Murder Mystery,” unfolded in the Tappan Zee High School Library on Friday! Students in Choral Director Russell Wagoner’s The Singing Actor class performed an interactive, three-part whodunit while one savvy English class tested its sleuthing skills and heightened its understanding of the literature genre.

“The theme of our school year has been ‘justice’,” explained English teacher AnneMarie Carella, who co-teaches the English class with Special Education teacher Juliann Long and ENL teacher Alexandros Tsironis. “We’ve read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ conducted research with The Innocence Project and, most recently, have been reading ‘Theodore Bloom: Kid Lawyer” by John Grisham. The story is focused on a trial–finding evidence and gathering testimony. Patty [Eyer] came up with this great idea for an interactive project.”

For Wagoner’s students, the performance provided an authentic experience for practicing improvisation. “This exercise is putting them into situations in which the conditions are changing and they have to constantly adapt in terms of how they play their characters. They are learning to think on their feet, which is a particularly helpful skill to have when a castmate forgets their line,” he noted.

As Library Media Specialist, Patty Eyer serves as a source of creative inspiration and facilitation for colleagues looking for new ways to present material. “I was looking for an interdisciplinary way to bring music and mystery together in the library,” said Eyer. “When teachers have library duty, it gives me opportunities to hear what they’re working on, connect them with others and help develop ideas for collaboration. Building connections that engage students is what I love.”

Expanding interdisciplinary initiatives at the high school is a key aim for Principal Rudy Arietta. “Projects like this pull together students who may or may not have had a chance to interact in other classes or socially. It’s a great thing anytime we can get students and teachers collaborating across disciplines and grades and it has a positive impact on what happens in the classroom,” Arietta observed.

"Superhero Murder Mystery" interactive event in progress at TZHS