VALDOSTA -- Students in Narci Drossos' sophomore English class at Valdosta High School discovered a little bit about who they really are Monday.

"I am pushing for critical thinking skills," said Drossos. "I want them to be able to think for themselves. Part of the ability to do so comes from knowing and accepting who they are."

Drossos' students, who are studying the "The Scarlet Letter," were each instructed by Drossos to think of something "sinful" about themselves and prepare a representative symbol of their sin.

Hester Prynne's sin in "The Scarlet Letter" was adultery, and she was forced to wear a scarlet "A" on the bodice of her dress and to stand on a public scaffold before the townspeople.

Although there was no public scaffold upon which to stand, one by one Drossos' students stood before their peers holding the symbol of their "sin" in front of them.

Chelsea Pyle stood before the class holding the letter "S" for selfishness. Pyle went into detail about her sin, sharing its power over her and how she plans to rid herself of it.

"I want everything," she said. "If someone else has something, I want it, too."

Pyle said she should learn to accept her life for what it is and be happy with the things she has.

After Pyle was finished speaking before the class, she was allowed to return to her seat instead of being isolated from the group as Prynne was.

Many more students followed Pyle, confessing their sins of procrastination, laziness, perfectionism, gambling, etc.

Holding the letter "M" for meanness, George Lazari confessed that he was mean to everyone.

"I make fun of everyone," said Lazari, who immediately started poking fun at his fellow students. "I cannot help it."

Lazari, in an effort to gain sympathy, quickly informed everyone that he also compliments those he insults. Reluctantly, Lazari's peers allowed him to return to his seat.

"All of the students were very candid in their responses," said Drossos. "I try to make each of them feel safe to express themselves freely in class."

Drossos and the students in her class said they learned a lot not only about themselves but about each other through the project.

A few students said they definitely learned about how others look at themselves and what they see when they do.

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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