Revived Shakespeare Society wraps up first year of meetings


The winning team from the Shakespeare-themed scavenger hunt pose with Mr. Larry Baker and their prize, a box of Shakespeare chocolates. Although the Shakespeare Society has only seven students this year, the group has plenty of fun. (Photo Credit: Anastasia Warner)

Mercy’s Shakespeare Society concluded its first year as a revived student organization during Club Meetings on April 11.

The club originally began in 2006, lasting five years before interest diminished, and was revitalized this year when the club’s moderator and Mercy’s associate principal, Mr. Larry Baker, returned to teaching Shakespeare.

Mr. Baker explained that the club’s purpose, from the beginning, was to bring together a group of people who could appreciate the works of Shakespeare together.

“When we first started the club, we didn’t start it to do something, we just started it because it seemed so cool,” he said. “We enjoyed the eccentricity of it.”

With a new group of students in the renewed club this year, Mr. Baker sees the same passion as the original group.

“I definitely enjoyed everyone’s company,” he said. “I think we got to bask in our mutual enthusiasm.”

“If [the club] didn’t kindle the fire, it kept the fire burning,” said Mr. Baker, referencing how the club allows students to continue their interest in Shakespeare outside of class. “It allowed them to enjoy this venture into literature and drama with other fellow enthusiasts,” he said.

Mr. Baker expressed some regret that the Shakespeare Society, like other in-school clubs, only meets four times a year. However, the limited meetings did not prevent the group from having plenty of fun.

After the first introductory meeting, retired English teacher Mr. Mike Gruber was invited to the following club meeting to present notable film adaptations of Shakespeare plays. The second-semester meetings included a visit from a member of the Shakespeare in Detroit theater company and a scavenger hunt around the school following Shakespeare-quote clues that directed students to staff members.

Junior Priyanka John joined the club this fall after being exposed to Shakespeare in her sophomore-year Honors British Literature class. She hoped to expand her knowledge of Shakespeare beyond the basics.

“I love the variety we have in every meeting; we’re always doing something different,” said John. “There’s so much effort being put into it by Mr. Baker and all of the girls, and it’s super interactive and just a lot of fun.”

John believes that the Mercy’s Shakespeare Society makes Shakespeare more accessible to students.

“Not a lot of girls have the opportunity or room in their schedule to take Shakespeare as a class,” she said. “This is a great way for me [and other girls] to still learn and to hear about what other people think about [his works]. I feel like I learned a lot more about Shakespeare this year and I’m leaving with a lot more [knowledge] than I came in.”

Mr. Baker explained what draws him and many others to the playwright’s extensive works.

“What I’ve found in teaching and studying Shakespeare is that you can come back [again and again] and that it’s just a constant experience of rediscovery,” he said.