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May 18, 2012

No shirt, no shoes, no contest: Highland Hills celebrates Tom Sawyer Day

FLOYDS KNOBS — Donning overalls, fishing poles and paint brushes, the students looked like they’d just stepped out of a town called St. Petersburg somewhere near the Mississippi River in the 1840s.

Seventh-graders at Highland Hills Middle School had a costume contest for Tom Sawyer Day. Students dressed up as Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher or Tomboy Sawyer — a female version of Tom.

Elizabeth Murphy, seventh grade English teacher, said the idea was modeled off an annual event in Hannibal, Mo., that celebrates the characters.

“It just brings the novel to life and lets them show their creativity,” Murphy said. “It gives the kids a chance to shine through another avenue.”

Some students pieced their costumes together while others made theirs completely by hand, like Madison Woosley.

Woosley, a seventh-grader who won first place in the Becky Thatcher portion of the contest, said she and her mother, Janet, sewed the dress and bonnet for her costume.

“I was looking at some different pictures on the covers of books and pictures on the Internet of the national Tom and Becky shows,” Woosley said.

For her prize, Woosley won a $20 gift card to Target.

But another contestant said it took a little courage for him to get on stage with his costume.

Seventh-grader Sam Owings won second place for his costume as Huck Finn. He wore some overalls, a straw hat and not much else.

“It was kind of scary,” Owings said. “I just figured he wears overalls and nothing under them.”

Murphy said the contest was a good way for students to wind down after completing ISTEP+ and they would finish the event by watching Disney’s “Tom and Huck.”

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