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Director of and Actors from 'I Learn America' Visit Buckley Country Day School

Director of and Actors from 'I Learn America' Visit Buckley Country Day School

To coincide with immigration lessons in their humanities classes, the director of a documentary came to speak to Buckley Country Day School sixth graders.


Jean-Michel Dissard, the director of I Learn America, as well as two actors from the documentary, Sing and Brandon, visited the Buckley Country Day School for a full-day workshop with sixth graders. The visit to the Roslyn school was on Nov. 28, after the students spent a unit in humanities focusing on identity and immigration in which they read Coming to America, Finding Your Voice by Maria Hinojosa, watched the documentary, and interviewed a family member to learn about their personal immigration story.

The workshop allowed for the students to work on and share this personal immigration story as well as to get to hear from those involved with the film. “We were in awe over the power of this workshop and the dialogue it will continue to generate. Jean-Michel enabled our students to see how their own stories produced a library of knowledge to share with others," said Buckley History Teacher Patricia Russac. "What resonated most was immigration is now the norm, not the exception.”

Over the course of a school year at Brooklyn’s International High School at Lafayette, the documentary, I Learn America, followed five immigrant teenagers to highlight their individual stories to explain the difficulties of immigrating to the United States. As Buckley Country Day School students got to know two of these students in the documentary and the director, they were able to humanize the immigration experience.

“It was beyond powerful to hear the stories in person from the two students in the film, and then have our own students feel empowered to share their own with them," said Buckley English Teacher Natasha Chadha. "As I witnessed the workshop, I found myself fighting back tears. Brandon and Sing’s heart-wrenching stories juxtaposed with their positivity and smiles was incredibly inspiring.” 

The opportunity came after the school was given a $10,000 professional development grant, allowing the teachers of Buckley, Ms. Chadha, Ms. Russac, and Mr. Mercer Hall, to participate in several summer seminars and workshops.

Main Image: Jean- Michel Dissard, director of I Learn America documentary, speaks to Buckley Country Day School sixth graders.

Image courtesy Buckley Country Day School


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Allison Ingrum

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Allison Ingrum, a junior at Syracuse University studying magazine journalism, is a former editorial intern at NYMetroParents. When she is not busy typing away, you can find her exploring the city, trying new foods, or sitting in a local coffee shop.

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