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Date: Jul 02, 2008
Metropolitan Area Teens Challenged to Document Diversity
Innovative Summer Program Funded by "Everybody Loves Raymond" Producer Phil Rosenthal
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Metropolitan area high school students will be challenged to document a culture other than their own as part of an innovative summer program at Hofstra called “Documenting Diversity”. Phil Rosenthal, Hofstra alumnus and producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” helped fund the program with a grant from the Phil and Monica Rosenthal Foundation.
The program, which began June 30, 2008 will allow 10 high school students who represent diverse populations to experience what it is like to step inside someone else’s shoes. The program brings together students from diverse backgrounds and encourages them to explore their differences through the medium of documentary film. Each participant is partnered with another individual with whom they will collaborate in making films about each other.
While there are many programs that teach young people to express themselves through media, “Documenting Diversity” is unique in that it requires each student to make a film about the life of another participant in the program, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of what it would be like to live that life.
“Documenting Diversity was an experience that I will never forget,” said Documenting Diversity 2007 Participant Emily Schwartz. “This program not only helped me grow as a filmmaker, but as a human being too. I learned a lot about filmmaking and the cultures and lives of people whose experiences were so different from my own. I know this program will benefit me in the years to come.”
“This is as much about consciousness-raising and education as it is about filmmaking,” said Dr. Sybil DelGaudio, Dean of the School of Communication. “The goal of the program is not only to teach students how to produce short films but also to change their outlooks on other groups through the experience of documenting their lives.”
According to Program Director William Jennings students will participate in workshops introducing themes of identity formation and articulation, and will be guided through the three stages of filmmaking: pre-production, production and post-production – and all the research and work that goes with it.
The documentaries will be made using Hofstra’s School of Communication cameras and digital editing software. The students will be guided by a team of faculty experts drawn from disciplines such as Film, Video and Sociology.
A red- carpet public screening of the student films will take place in a community forum in the fall. Pictures and bits of the student participants and their films from last year’s program can be viewed at http://www.hofstra.edu/Academics/Colleges/SOC/soc_docdiv.html .
The “Documenting Diversity” project is sponsored by the School of Communications and The Phil and Monica Rosenthal Foundation.
For more information: Program Directors, Documenting Diversity
William Jennings Phil Katzman
BIOS OF STUDENT PARTICIPANTS
Trisha Sanghavi: Trisha is active in her school newspaper, and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She enjoys playing the flute, Indian classical dance, and Karate. An Indian-American, she is the first person from her family to be born in the United States. One of the ways she keeps in touch with her Indian heritage is by watching Bollywood movies on Friday nights with her family.
Gabrielle Powell: Gabrielle is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and her high school swim team, but enjoys volunteering at a soup kitchen in New York City. She believes that her background as an Israeli-Ethiopian Jew has helped her relate to people of different cultural and economic backgrounds.
Roopinder Singh: Roopy, as he is called by his friends, is a Sikh, a religion originating from India. As part of his religion he does not cut his hair and it is now over three feet long. However that is only part of his identity, he manages a varsity basketball team, the school store, and volunteers at the local hospital among his other activities and he loves video games.
Marquis Baskerville: Marquis recently moved from Virginia Beach to Corona, Queens and enjoys the diverse cultures found there. Even within the Spanish speaking community, which is his native language, Marquis is pleased to find such tremendous diversity. He enjoys writing and nearly all music except country and jazz.
George Cuomo: George keeps himself busy with the Ping-Pong Club, the Video Tech Club and working as an engineer at a music recording studio, among his other activities. He is a fan of skateboarding and mosh pits but not that he wants to be typecast by those things. His favorite quote by the poet-theologian William Ellery Channing reads,” The great hope of society is individual character.”
Alyna Van Dunk: Alyna freely admits that she has two personalities. She was born and raised in Brooklyn until recent and now lives in Valley Stream. Growing up in Flatbush, many of her friends where called her Pebblezs and she says it still reflects that part of her that is more “hard core”. Alyna is doing well in her new school and likes her new community where she joined the Jr. Fire Department of Valley Stream.
Lin Yanquing: Yaki is a recent immigrant from China and has lived in the United States less than four years. When she arrived in Flushing, Queens it was quite a culture shock for her to move into a neighborhood of multiple languages, cultures and religions. Now she participates in Girls Write Now, a writing program which brings together girls from different schools to share their work, and Close Up, a social studies program which brings students from different parts of the country together to learn about politics and history.
Jean Vergaray: Jean, a recent immigrants from South America, plays on his high school soccer team, is a member of the book club and the College Now Program, which focuses on sociology. The diverse community of Queens, where Jean resides, feeds his interest in sociology. He contributes this, “you need to give reposed in order to receive it,” as the key to these diverse people getting along.
Stephon Brown: Stephon’s major extra-curricular activity is track and field, for which he runs the 400 meters. As an elite athlete coming from a predominant African-American and Hispanic community, Stephon travels to many of the other high schools in the region and understands first hand how many students are intimidated by unfamiliar social situations. He is determined to apply the same work ethic that has brought him success in the 400 meters to life and give it his all, “leaving everything on the track”.
Kathleen Butler Simpson: Kathleen keeps busy with a variety of activities including the Latin club, JV Cheerleading, and teaching religion classes at a parish school. A practicing Catholic, Kathleen’s faith is a major influence on al aspects of her life, including her moral values and her decision to become involved in charitable causes and activities.