filmed + edited by Lydia Sun
Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA
This past August 2015, Girls Innovate! hosted a series of screenings of the documentary “Most Likely to Succeed” in the San Francisco Bay Area. This documentary chronicles the history of our outdated school system, the needs of our rapidly changing world for differently-educated students, and a year of project-based learning at a charter school in San Diego called High Tech High.
Over 350 people attended these screenings, which were free of charge and open to anyone in the community who wanted to attend, including youths, families and community members.
Our volunteers donated funds and time to support the screenings, and we believe the effort was hugely rewarded. We sincerely only hoped for community engagement on a topic of critical importance to our kids’ lives now and for our shared future. Without a doubt, participants – young and old – were not only engaged, but concerned, enraged, open and passionate.
Many thanks to all who made these screenings possible, including all our guests and speakers, as well as staff at the following libraries:
- Redwood City, CA
- Pleasanton, CA
- Fremont, CA
- Los Altos, CA
We hope you will find every possible way to continue the dialogue, whether with us, at home or in your social and school communities.
Scroll below for blog posts, a few pictures from the screenings and comments from participants.
Emma O’Hara: “I was blown away by the engagement and sincerity of the attendees. Education is something that affects everyone in our communities, and everyone in attendance was candid and eager to gain new perspectives.” Read more.
Langley Topper: “Many teens, parents, and community members deeply care about education. However, they are unsure how to voice their questions and concerns in a education system that is bureaucratic and underfunded.” Read more.
Kim Freitas: “As a parent, I realized that keeping things the same is probably a bigger risk to California’s future citizens than making changes.” Read more.
Lydia Sun: “There was one woman at Redwood City who had homeschooled all of her children. She seemed very ahead of her time, because it seems to me that many parents are still very much stuck in the good grades/college/job mindset. I was impressed that she was able to recognize her children’s needs and even more impressed that she put so much effort into educating them herself.” Read more.
Ann Saponara: “I was moved by the teacher in the film who says that after teaching at High Tech High, he experienced ‘a very noticeable shift in my faith in positive outcomes.’” Read more.
Cathy Zhang: “It is valuable for teens to know that the soft skills mentioned in the documentary are the skills that will be vital in the 21st century.” Read more.
Celina Chow: “Being a part of this series changed my perspective on education. I had always believed that acing the tests would get me into a brand name college to get me a well a well paying job at a brand name company. However, the truth is that grades are not the most important contributor to a successful life.” Read more.
Anika Bagga: “After watching the movie and hearing different people’s perspectives, I think that it’s very important that we take charge of our own education. The movie highlighted several gaps in our education, which in the bigger picture, affects our innovation and economy. It really opened my eyes to the fact that I had to find my own passions and take responsibility to fill those gaps in order to be more prepared for the work-force.” Read more.
Farida Rahman: “This event definitely opened everyone’s thought processes and will continue to in the coming days on the way education should be imparted in this new economy.” Read more.
A FEW PHOTOS
Prior to the movie, we asked guests to fill out a survey describing their thoughts and experiences with the education system. We share some of the responses below.
- My school doesn’t offer a wide variety of classes and I feel my institutional education has been void of discussion of current events, art, philosophy, or religion. Even at a high school of about 2,000 people, I have struggled to find “my people.”
- I have felt the need to seek a lot of extracurriculars outside of school to fill gaps in my education.
- I am worried that my grades will drop this year because I’m taking so many hard classes. I’m nervous that this pressure will take away my motivation and the excitement of learning new things, and I don’t want anxiety about getting good grades to define my last year in high school.
- Parents should give their children room to make mistakes when they are young, so that when children grow older, they are pushing along their own education instead of their parents.
- It’s hard to change at my kids’ school because, like other schools, it tends to focus on grades and scores. It’s the mentality of a traditional school.
- Students are a gating factor, and they are uninspired.
- We can encourage kids to create goals at their own level; encourage more open-ended, realistic learning; model how to collaborate; and develop skills instead of focus on scores and results.
- Learning can happen all the time, not just sitting in school. You can tell if a student is learning without having to test them.
- Kids are a country’s intellectual resource; put systems in place to have every kid reach his/her potential.
- We are all responsible for making this better. We cannot put the blame/responsibility on teachers, principals, students, parents. This is a massive, societal problem that everyone has to play a role in making better.
- I’m thankful that we’re all here with a shared interest to improve education.