Folks, there is a revolution going on — and the kids at Effingham High School are on the cutting edge. WOW! It’s almost unbelievable some of the things I saw in Illinois.
First off, it’s easy to see why Joe Fatheree is NEA’s 2009 Teacher of the Year. From the relationship he has with his students to the rigor he demands in his curriculum, Joe is on the top of his game across so many areas of the teaching spectrum that it’s truly a joy to know this fellow is an American educator. He’s the real deal.
As for the theater, it was unreal. 1500 seats and the place was PACKED!! Just a sea of people and there is no doubt that the entire event had the feel of an Academy Awards for teenagers. The buzz was palpable all evening long.
Obviously, the highlight was the work of the students. From animated shorts to scripted narratives with humor, pathos, drama and even fear (BTW, the song Ring-Around-the-Rosy was brought to the theater with such a sinister twist I actually felt myself squirm in my seat), this student film festival had it all. It’s truly amazing what kids can do if they are given the opportunity. And I know I always say that wherever I go but to visit the city of Effingham was to see it firsthand.
Kudos to the folks who staged the AHA Film Festival. I don’t think a person who attended will ever forget the experience.