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Students find utopia to be elusive – or impossible

4 students point to their Utopia Projects posted on the wall above them

Imagine creating a perfect society where everyone is happy and no one would want to leave. This was the challenge issued by Fort Plain English Language Arts teacher Louise Clute to her 7th grade class, as a pre-reading assignment for the novel, “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry.

“At first, the students thought it would be simple to create a utopia everyone would want to live in,” said Clute, “and then they learned how difficult it actually is. They did an amazing job on their Utopia Project.”

Utopias can quickly deteriorate into dystopian societies full of injustice and suffering, like the one described in “The Giver.”

“A utopia is a perfect place, but it will turn into dystopia, because everybody’s idea of perfect is different,” said Lilly, a student who worked on the project and who had already read the novel on her own. “I’m reading another book about utopias, and it’s pretty cool,” she added. “I like reading books like this.”

“The students worked hard on the project and learned a lot about utopias,” said Clute. “They found that a utopia can’t be maintained, as we are all imperfect, and that societies are not utopian when everything is done for you and no one has to make any of their own decisions.

“I give the students a shout out for a job well done,” she added. “I am very proud of the work they’ve done, and they are equally proud of themselves.”

Students and staff alike can explore the Utopia Project through the students’ hallway display outside high school room 210.

2 students point to their Utopia Projects posted on the wall above them
Photo at top and above: Students point to their Utopia Projects, which are displayed outside their classroom.

Ms. Clute and Lilly standing next to the posted projects
Ms. Clute and Lilly