Franklin High’s ‘Great Eight’ take on Flannery O’Connor

Dalton Lusher as John Wesley looks out the window in his hated home-state of Georgia. (Contributed photo)

At Franklin High School, AP English and the “Paradise Lost” trial are synonymous.

The trial is the culmination of four years of hard work, months of over-the-top planning and the support of an entire community.

But for the AP English Class of 2016, the trial was not a possibility.

The average enrollment in the course is usually in the low to mid 20s, but this year the AP English class had only eight students, who were lovingly referred to as the Great Eight.

The Great Eight had the opportunity to create a new final project from scratch, and eventually they decided to take on a story from their short-story unit and turn it into a full-scale film production.

The group had 12 stories to choose from and finally settled on Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” This story follows a family on their way to vacation in Florida and their run-in with an escaped convict, the Misfit.

O’Connor’s short-story challenges moral codes, people’s faith and religion itself.

The Great Eight had to adapt the story from prose to dialogue to make it work on screen.

Together, the Great Eight did all of the writing, filming and editing, and class members Loren Baseler and Geoffrey Spaid co-directed.

Each student also played at least one character, and the students brought in fellow senior Brody Rodgers to play Red Sam.

The hard work by the class paid off with a 24-minute video and the audience’s laughter and tears.

The audience of former students, teachers, parents and grandparents praised the Great Eight’s work and their ability to pull together to create something entirely new.

As next year’s AP class has 14 students enrolled, they have decided as an incoming class they will once again put on the “Paradise Lost” trial, so it seems the Great Eight’s project will go down in the Franklin High School history books as one of a kind.