Alumni News from Washington DC

November 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

Submitted by Jim Clay

On Sunday, September 29, a group of DC-based Bank Street alums gathered at Concord Hill School in Chevy Chase, MD, where alum Denise Gershowitz is head of school.  The occasion was a film screening and discussion of 40 Years Later: Now Can We Talk? a documentary which tells the story of the first African Americans to integrate a  high school in Batesville, Mississippi, in 1967-69.  In the film a provocative and moving conversation emerges from separate discussions with African American alumni, white alumni, and a third dialogue that brings the two groups face-to-face. This film project was a joint effort between Lee Ann Bell, who is the Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education at Barnard College, Bank Street’s Fern Khan, retired Dean of Continuing Education, and Markie Hancock, a New York base educational documentary filmmaker.

The film had personal meaning for alum Diane Trister Dodge. “When the people featured in this movie were in high school, I lived 24 miles from Batesville. From 1966-1969, I served as the education coordinator for a new Head Start program in Marshall and Lafayette counties that served 900 children.  The thesis I wrote to complete my MS at Bank Street was about the education program I set up and how I trained the teachers who all came from the community. That experience changed my life, and it was very moving to hear the people in this film describing their experiences during this same time period.”

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