In 2012 when The Camden Street Elementary School, a K-8 school, reopened in Newark as one of many renewal schools in the district, there was an 18% literacy rate among students at the minimum state level. With one art teacher and one music teacher for eight hundred students and nothing in the way of extra-curricular art programs, both literacy and the arts were labeled as emergencies by the new principle Mr. Garrison.
In the summer of 2013, Randolph High School senior Seth Mitchell proposed a project to unite the two school districts in an effort to address and improve those emergencies. The proposed partnership of CSES and RHS would see the pairing of thirty Randolph High School students with eighty of the Camden Street students for the purpose of writing, producing and performing an original musical.
Working as Seth’s right hand man I lead the writing of the musical, its direction, the documenting of the process through writing and images, filming and post-production of the documentary and as a promoter of the project.
Over the period of time between first meeting of the two groups in January of 2014 till the musicals completion and multiple performances in June, socioeconomic barriers were shattered by the friendships forged, stereotypes were broken, grades and behaviors were improved, and two completely opposite groups of people were united in pursuit of this one goal.