Trinity students bid bad words farewell

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 2010

NATCHEZ — After attending a mock funeral for slang words, Trinity middle school students ain’t going to talk bad no more.

Dressed in black shawls and hats over their uniforms, fifth through eighth grade students gathered behind the tennis court at Trinity, Friday, to bury their bad grammar habits once and for all eternity.

The idea for the bad words funeral came from middle school reading teacher Amy Marchbanks.

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Marchbanks said she noticed students tried to avoid using words like “ain’t” in front of their teachers, but she heard them using slang in the halls and cafeteria when talking to each other.

She said an “out of the box” demonstration like the funeral would affect students’ habits more than traditional instruction because it would create a memory that would stick with them.

Students were allowed to write eulogies for extra credit, and some students read them aloud.

Eighth-grade student Zach Pintard addressed the congregation.

“Goodbye bad words. You comforted us in hard times. This is not an end but a new beginning to the expansion of my mind,” Pintard said.

Fifth-grade student Anna Rodriguez took her time at the podium to use the bad words for the last time.

“Hey y’all words, I ain’t never know how y’all died, but I think it has something to do with Ms. Marchbanks,” Rodriguez said.

After each round of eulogies from every grade, students filed near the black podium and dropped a piece of paper scribbled with their favorite slang word into a hole dug in the ground.

Following the memorials, a group of eighth grade boys sealed the remains with dirt and students let out a series of fake weeping sounds.

Marchbanks said she explained to her students if slang words slip out during an interview in the real world, bad grammar could jeopardize chances of getting the job, regardless of the quality of their education.

She said she is hopeful that the funeral made an impression.

“You can test all day long, but especially in middle school, they need to be able to express (themselves) more than writing on a paper (to have an impact),” Marchbanks said.