A Teacher Brings The World Into The Classroom

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Sean Gaston, a teacher at Fleetwood Area High School in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, wrote to me with this inspiring story:

“I got into teaching six years ago, leaving a 15-year career in the movie business to teach high school students television production and basic filmmaking techniques. I am firm believer in changing the way that students learn and bringing the learning out of the textbook.

With this knowledge, when I started teaching I was always on the hunt for that one project that would allow me to accomplish all these things inside my classroom.  In June of 2010, I found it when I met a Holocaust survivor at a teaching conference in Indiana.

Our school embarked on project to produce a feature-length documentary film about the life of the Holocaust survivor, Frank ‘Misa’ Grunwald. It involved 200 current and former students—students who ran the gamut, from those who were low-level learners to those with the highest honors, from students who spent time in in-school suspension to students who never had a detention a day in their life.

It involved 10 faculty members from six different departments in our high school (communications, social studies, English, art, music, and technology education). In addition to the teachers and students, the project was also assisted by a small handful of independent filmmaking professionals and five international organizations.

The film, Misa’s Fugue, was completed in April of 2012.  Since then the film has played in film festivals, won awards, and actually reached the desks of Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks at Playtone Productions in LA.

Misa’s Fugue is more than just a documentary about a Holocaust survivor.  It’s a testament to the power of public education and what can be accomplished when you think about learning outside the box and have the full support of your community, the school district, teachers, parents, and students.”

To learn more about the film, please go to www.MisasFugue.com. Thank you for sharing this, Sean. 

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