Character Team

A Discussion and a Movie Hits Alonzo Crim Open Campus High School

The Chris Draft Family Foundation stopped in Atlanta for last month’s “A Discussion and a Movie” at Alonzo Crim Open Campus High School. Student leaders were invited to a showing of the Oscar-nominated/winning film on Friday April 23 2010.  Students who find difficulty excelling in traditional settings and find alternative learning at Crim High School, where individual accomplishment, self confidence, goal setting and positive life choices are promoted. The school does not even have organized sports teams as to maintain the focus strictly on study and course offerings that meet graduation requirements.

Many of the students could relate to struggles of Michael Oher, the homeless teenager who was taken-in supported and accepted as family in spite of cultural difference and background. While not all stories of hardship end with flourishing NFL careers, the students understood and were inspired by Michael’s courage, persistence and hard work. Showing the film, fostering discussion and encouraging students to write the essay are aspects of the Georgia Performance Standards, enforced and executed across the state.

Mr. Eric Watson, Crim’s Outreach Coordinator, works to secure scholarships for students and assists with child placement. Many of the students look up to Mr. Watson and consider his a family member. He makes himself available to the students even after school hours as many have his personal cell phone to call when life gets rough.  Mr. Watson found the movie’s message important for Crim student’s to grasp. “If Michael Oher can make it, so can these kids,” he said. Mr. Watson also advised all students to find one person they can look up to, just as Michael Oher did, to encourage them on their life’s journey.

After the viewing, students were led in an open discussion about the film and its impact by Chris Draft. Jean Ann, a young 12th grader commented that she could relate to the positive influences in Michael’s life, as they helped him to achieve. Jean Ann said that her largest life influence is her father. She said, “He doesn’t sugar coat anything, we work together and he encourages me to learn and try new things so that I don’t have to work for anyone else.” She added, “I want to open up a car repair shop.” Students were eager to share their many life influences and how they enjoyed the movie. They were then asked to write an essay about their experience for later review by the CDFFoundation. One essay is selected and the winner gets a chance for a special outing with Chris Draft! The visit to Alonzo Crim High School was an overall success, and the CDFFoundation looks forward to returning and working together on future programs.

The CDFFoundation’s “A Discussion and a Movie” is an effort to promote the development of the following Character Team™ traits as pillars that build positive and productive men and women: compassion, courage, honesty, perseverance, respect, responsibility and self-discipline. Through attaining these positive character traits, the foundation’s goal of encouraging achievement in academic success, leadership and positive change in communities across the country will be reached and furthered.