unique talents are examined by
the Dewey Center students. A
grandmother's resonating advice
to the students, along with her
own remembrance of a special
contribution to Rosa Parks, instills
an empowering tone.
"I felt really honored that
Jamaica (one of the Dewey
students) and her family
welcomed us into their lives and
shared their stories and their
histories with us," said Gilliand.
Voices of The Corridor is a close-
up look at the more "notorious"
sections of Detroit's Cass
Corridor. These Dewey students
successfully reconstruct some of
the myths currently plaguing the
area while also tackling the ways
the area's problems have affected
their own lives.
"Why do you think the white
people in Southfield look down at
the Black people in Detroit?" 8th
grader John Hair asks another
Detroit resident in Voices.
"Well, you know, they're
playing into the stereotypes,"
answers the man.
Truly, these young artists (as
well as their community) are well
aware of the unfair perceptions
plaguing them, yet their work
distinctly demonstrates their will
to confront prejudice.
Dewey Looks at Detroit is a more
widespread look at the students
and their involvement in
the Detroit area. Done in
a roving reporter style,
the students cover
everything from a guided
tour of their school to a
march downtown by D
Mandela's release in February.
comments fourth grader
Fernando Collins during the
Mandela march sequence. "That
sure is a long time."
Another portion of the video
contains footage from the Robert
Hayden Conference last winter
which the students attended.
Some of the students also take
time to remember their personal
meeting with Gwendolyn Brooks,
who was at the conference, and
recite her famous poem "We Real
I'he Dewey Center, formally
Cousins Middle School, has
> been highlighted in the
dia this past year for their
irely student-written book:
ridor: Stories from Inner-City
roit. Teachers involved in the
project this year continue to
have high expectations for
the importance of such
Detroit teacher Jennetta
Cotman says this year's
added theater component
1 aid the students in their
ting, as well as other
'All in all, it's all worth it if it
ps the students," says Cotman.
he theater, video and writing
jects are all ways to help
Those who have worked on
project in Ann Arbor say
ursday's showing is meant to
blight these young
imakers' artistic endeavors.
e benefit is also meant to raise
ney for this year's expanded
ject which will also include a
theater component. Andwhile all
the videos are vibrant
demonstrations of Detroit's
youth, perhaps the most
important element of the project
(which can never be entirely
revealed in these videos) is the
project's creative process.
The Dewey Looks at Detroit
project reveals what happens
when students and teachers take
time to work together and assure
one another of their own talents.
Here, a truly dynamic process has
evolved, where students are able
to develop the most important
notion of respect in the classroom:
respect for themselves and their
"The project was important
because the kids gained some
hands-on experience with
technology which had previously
been foreign and mysterious,"
says Kathy Michaud, a University
alum who worked on the video
project last year. "But the most
gratifying part of the project was
seeing the sense of confidence
and ingenuity the students were
able to develop for themselves."
it's gofta be
"Yeah, I'll check outa movie. worked in the video field, this has
But it'll take a Black one to move me. changed my outlook on how the
Get me the hell away from this TV. technology can be used and
All these news and views are beneath applied. The kids are much more
me. engaged in the same kind of
Because allIknow about is shots creative processes that you would
ringing out.... usually find in writing or an
For all the years we look like clowns, English class."
The joke is over smell the smoke The four separate videos -
around. Dewey Looks at Detroit, Voices of the
Burn Hollywood Burn." Corridor, The Best of Homemakers
and Our Neighborhood Adventures
- Public Enemy - are all less than 15 minutes
long and will be presented
A very different series of Thursday October 4 at 7:30 p.m.
"blockbuster videos" will be at the Modern Language Building
released in Ann Arbor this week. in room 2011.
Unlike the commonly skewed Our Neighborhood Adventures is a
Hollywood images shaping our delightful account of students and
perceptions of people, a recent their day-to-day ordeals with
endeavor allows us to view videos those who dwell around the
filled with stories of real-life youth students' campus. Band practice
and their real-life connections and part-time jobs are some of the
within their community. Census subjects these young interviewers
workers, family business have tackled in their filmmaking.
ventures, neighborhood churches, But whether it be talking to
as well as school activities are just resident volunteers who promote
some of the highlights included in African and African-American
this video series. history at a nearby activity center
The Dewey Looks At Detroit or construction workers breaking
Videos, developed by 18 energetic up the sidewalk concrete, these
Detroit Dewey Middle School youth demonstrate their own
students last winter, incorporate resourcefulness in investigating
unique voices and creative the world around them.
endeavors. "Well how much money do you
"This was the first time I make?" asks Antonio Williams, a
worked with video and kids and feisty fourth grader, at a nearby
we really didn't know what would construction site. His bluntness
be the outcome," said Jeanne elicits chuckles from the
Gilliland, a Residential College surrounding crowd during filming
senior who worked on the project - but his honest approach as a
last year and is continuing it this newscaster is refreshing.
year. "As someone who has The Best of Homemakers is a
touching tale of food, love and
family unity. (Innovative
technical effects explored here
Right: The Dewey sohoolkids from Detroit who make this video a special treat.)
Three generations of women
took part in last year's program. working together to develop their
Those involved with the Dewey
Center project, along with those
involved in similar projects around
the country, agree that using video
equipment in the classroom has
proven to be a successful and
enterprising educational tool.
Through such projects, students
are taught basic technical know-
how and vocabulary to enable them
to plan, shoot and edit sequences
of video on their own. Also,
because the students are
committed to a goal-oriented
project, those involved say they can
develop the necessary vocabulary
and language patterns needed to
deal with video and film
While ultimately the students
are able to produce a film, the
promoters of the project say the
approach itself is critical for the
students' continued expressive
Last winter's video project,
begun by six students and one
faculty member at the University,
was based on past student
collaborative projects around the
nation which include Denise
Zaccardi's work in
American, and Latino
Zaccardi continues to
enable youth to
Center in New York
City has also allowed
high school students
to create through
video production by
in their Lower East
Many of these tapes
are now seeing
with the Dewey
Center Project say
they are striving for
goals, but remain
focused on promoting
the voices of the
The Dewey Center
Looks At Detroit Videos
will be shown Thursday
October 4 at 730 p. m.
at the Modern
Language Building in
All the Wori
"I like to play basketball," said on
"I like to sing," said another.
"I like to act.
The students imitated their favori
television stars. They substituted the
"Simon" when playing "Simon Says.
each other attentively as each created
Drama Club at Dewey Center Mi
scheduled last week.
As part of the Dewey Looks at Detros
program has grown out of last year's v
program - stressing the same underl
video project - hopes to provide a ft
able to explore their own creative en(
"I want the kids to think of their o
they want to do," says Max Gordon, a
major in the Residential College.
Gordon, who is new to the project
day at the Dewey Center last week w
and fifth graders. The students select
as their first choice for their last hour
students didn't seem disappointed w
"I want to play a robot," said one y
"I can dance!" said another.
As the session closed, the students
for respecting one another in the cor
theater season. "We are all going to w
this a comfortable place for everyone,
The kids, with eager smiles on the
WEEKEND September 28, 1990