Summer Movie: Freedom Writers Goes Beyond the Milton Bubble
by Gabriella Blake on Friday, June 8th, 2012
This summer, Upper School students will be assigned to watch the movie Freedom Writers before returning to school in the fall.
For the last two summers, replacing the longstanding tradition of a school-wide summer reading book, SGA has chosen a movie to spark discussion between students. Head Monitor Jess Li (I) expressed her excitement about the new tradition, saying, “A summer movie allows the head monitors to set a specific tone for the upcoming year.” SGA strongly believes that assigning a movie for students to watch over the summer helps both to educate students about issues outside of the Milton community and to unify the student body more effectively than a required book.
Jess and Nick drew suggestions for the 2012 summer movie from student organizations, teachers, and friends, and discussed all recommendations with other members of the SGA and the SGA advisors, Mr. Skinner and Ms. Burke, before coming to a consensus. When deciding on a movie to assign, the SGA must take a number of factors into consideration. The Head Monitors hope that students will actually enjoy the movie as well as learn from it. The film chosen for this summer fulfills these goals, educating and inspiring while entertaining.
Freedom Writers, a 2007 American drama, tells the story of a new teacher’s attempt to inspire a group of troubled inner city students in Long Beach, California. Jess explains SGA’s choice: “We chose Freedom Writers because it addresses many major issues such as race, class, and education. Through this movie, we hope to continue the conversation following Waiting for Superman [the 2011 summer movie] but also to broaden the scope to include other conflicts.”
Nick shares Jess’s enthusiasm for the movie choice: “I personally wanted a powerful and intellectually stimulating movie that was uplifting and entertaining, and Freedom Writers is all those things.”
Other students share the head monitors’ excitement. Claire Russell (III) agreed with the SGA’s decision, stating, “I think this movie will spark interesting discussions, and it won’t be a bore or a chore to watch.”
After watching the movie over the summer, students will return in the fall to participate in small discussion groups. These groups, comprised of students from different grades, provide an opportunity to discuss the movie’s central themes and share their own thoughts on the experience.
Morgan O’Connell (III) explains, “I don’t mind the discussion groups because they include a mix of people from different grades. If the dynamic is right, [the groups] can produce an extremely memorable and valuable conversation. This movie contains so many topics [and holds] the potential for some very insightful discussions.”
In addition to stimulating conversation, discussion groups unite the Upper School by allowing students of different ages to connect. Jess added, “We hope students get to interact with new people and learn from varying perspectives. Students at Milton come from widely different backgrounds, and their ideas are worth sharing.”
With the arrival of summer, students should look forward to taking time off from classes and enjoying the sun. Amidst the fun, however, students should make time to watch Freedom Writers with a friend and absorb all that this groundbreaking and inspirational movie has to offer.
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