Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jamaica HS Play and Discussion- Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together)

Revised June 8, 2011

From Rethinking Schools
Getting two schools co-located in one school building, especially when one school is being closed replaced while the other is viewed as being favored is not an easy thing to do. But when it happens it can be a beautiful thing to watch. Well, it happened at a Queensborough Community College Prep class with students from both schools based at Jamaica HS where teacher/facilitator Brian Pickett taught a theater class of students. A student-written play dealing with the subject matter of closing and co-located schools and the impact on the students was the result. (See Brian's article in Rethinking Schools.)

Here is the original April 10 blog:
I've been waiting to get this organized since I taped it on February 22. I had to wait to make sure it was OK with the people involved. I taped this performance at an off-Broadway theater. The follow-up Q&A with the students has as much impact as the play itself. They talk about being told they couldn't perform and the follow-up. The entire video is over an hour - I did no editing but just tried to let the camera capture it. It is scrollable so you can watch it in segments if you don't have time for one sitting. The students are so damned articulate from both schools.

Note the interesting question from a Wingate HS campus student at around the 48th minute about why not phase out certain schools - and the response.

Here is a note from Brian Pickett, the teacher who worked with the students:
On February 22, 2011 students from Queens Collegiate and Jamaica High Schools performed an encore performance of "Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together" at the off-Broadway Abingdon Theater. The play, an adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy "Antigone", was written by the students in a class at Queensborough Community College.

It had been initially banned by the students' principals for fear it was too critical of the Department of Education's decision to close Jamaica High school. The performance is followed by a discussion with the audience.
----Brian Pickett
Here is the direct vimeo link

Jamaica HS- Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together) from Grassroots Education Movement on Vimeo.

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