Sun-Times: After TV Debut, Maywood Filmmaker’s Documentary to Stream Online


Maywood native and filmmaker Derek Grace, middle right with camera, filming the documenting “College Week.” | Chicago Sun-Times

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 || Originally Published: Chicago Sun-Times || 6/6/16 ||  Virginia Barreda

Spencer Elementary Technology Academy’s annual celebration of “College Week” is the subject of a documentary film that will premiere Tuesday on public television.

Told from the perspectives of three eighth-grade teachers, the 60-minute film chronicles the efforts of Spencer Elementary’s principal, teachers and parents to teach students in the Austin neighborhood about the importance of higher education through a weeklong event called College Week.

“The event was designed to heighten students awareness about college,” Spencer Assistant Principal Alaric Blair said. “Students get the opportunity to research colleges — learn about their mascots, colors, the campus, admissions process, financial aid, and how to brand themselves.”

“It helps kids realize that college is a reality ,and that it’s a viable option for them.”

Creator of the documentary, Derek Grace said he looks forward to the nationwide premiere of the film and hopes the exposure will inspire other schools to follow suit.

“I hope to make an impact [with this film],” he said. “Spencer has had successful results from doing college week for the past 10 years. My goal is to see other communities adopt college week or something similar into their own schools.”

In its fourth season, America ReFramed gives viewers a look at the pulse of America through the lens of independent filmmakers, publicist Neyda Martinez said. It covers a range of topics including social justice, labor rights, politics, gun violence and religion. The series is a co-production of the World Channel and American Documentary Inc.

College Week, hosted by Natasha Del Toro, will air on WTTW and will stream free online for 90 days after the broadcast. VFP

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