It was 4 p.m. by the time we all gathered. The presence of the teens was asserted from the end of the hallway as they hurried in, not attempting to be quiet by any means. They don’t hold anything back. Every week there’s a new objective to be completed. Our new set goal was to create a video that focuses on the importance of the project we have been working on so far, and how it has impacted us. A sort of reflection on the year, and what could come next. With this group there’s no need to pry them out of their shells or create some kind of incentive for them to participate, they fight for who can speak first and they speak so passionately about the project. They didn’t just end it there, most had brilliant ideas of their own, projects that they are passionate about pursuing. We filmed for about an hour, each student taking their turn; we even had to say a few words. We mentioned the purpose of the project, what it meant to us, what we’ve learned, and what we hope to do in the future.
After the filming session was over, and technical difficulties kept us from editing previous videos, we watched a documentary about racial profiling portrayed in a cartoon version. (See the Op-Doc from the New York Times here).
The room that’s usually hectic with the endless streaming voices of the students was completely silent as they all became mesmerized by the film. The documentary used a metaphor to speak about these issues, and the teens were all quick to notice. We had a discussion about the powerful voice and production techniques in the video, and how it all came together. The teens dominated the conversation with their points of view and commentary on the documentary. They all seemed to truly be impacted in some way by the film. We spoke more about documentaries and their impact and the teens began giving ideas for documentaries that can be made in the future, some about conservation, others about political agenda. This session, more than ever, showed the passion and enthusiasm these teenagers have for the project and for life.