Video about Casco Bay HS featured at film festival this month

A video about Casco Bay High School and the way it supports and empowers students, titled “Walking in Solidarity,” will be a featured short video in This Is Our Chance Film Festival. The free virtual film festival will run from Oct. 6-27 and focuses on the intersection of race, education and youth empowerment.

The video was made in 2017 and features the Walk of Solidarity made by the high school’s students and staff in reaction to a racially biased hate crime against four Casco Bay High School students as they waited for the bus on Allen Avenue. Hundreds of students, along with staff, walked from the school to the bus stop a few days after the attack to support their fellow students, carrying signs with such slogans as “Love Will Win” and repeating chants such as “No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has up-ended the regular school experience for nearly 2 billion young people worldwide. At the same time, communities are confronting the insidious realities of systemic racism and grappling with how it shows up in schools,” a statement on the festival website reads. “Both crises demand we step into a new future where the mindsets, structures, policies and habits that have perpetuated educational inequities for centuries will no longer pre-determine the fates of future generations. This free film festival is designed to support that new future.”

The goal of the festival is to open minds and catalyze many thousands of conversations and action steps towards reimagining public schools.

The “Walking in Solidarity” video will be one of three short videos in the first week of the festival. Organizers said the CBHS video was chosen because it carries messages about school and district transformation, race and equity, the role of the community and the importance of powerful storytelling to change minds.

“We are honored to be included in this timely film festival,” CBHS Principal Derek Pierce said. “The piece deftly documents an important moment in our school’s young history and demonstrates the power of youth and love and community to overcome hate.”

The video was made by EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning), a leading K-12 nonprofit focused on raising student achievement across diverse schools and communities. CBHS, founded in 2005, is a mentor school within the EL Education network.

Register for the film festival at mailchi.mp/7ea8119c1377/our-chance-films to receive full access to the slate of films and resources.

Cape receives National Blue Ribbon School honors

Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth was one of three schools statewide to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020. The recognition by the U.S. Department of Education is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Easton Elementary School in Easton and Mary Snow Elementary School in Bangor were also named.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award recognizes safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. The DOE recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates.

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13 and schools will receive their plaques and flags via mail.

Dollars for scholars

Audrey Welsh of Yarmouth, who is studying with Nashville Ballet in Tennessee, was a recipient of a Maine Community Foundation award from the Daniel Cardillo Charitable Fund, which supports youth pursuing their artistic, academic, athletic and vocational or life’s passion outside of the traditional school environment.

A scholarship given to Dakota Webster of Scarborough was renewed by the The Maine Community Foundation Chet Jordan Leadership Awards, given to emerging leaders with the ability to turn a vision into reality and engage others in making a lasting impact on their community.