We are pleased to announce a field trip for all sophomores and juniors taking place on Friday, February 28th! Athens High School students will travel by school bus to the Athena Cinema in Athens for a special viewing of the newly released movie “River of Hope”. River of Hope is a locally made movie of how a former slave, Mary Barnes Cabell & her children, founded the first college for African Americans in West Virginia. The movie provides perspective regarding local history before, during, and after the Civil War.
The film was recently released in Charleston, West Virginia and the opportunity to view the movie is being provided to AHS by the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society. Your child will attend a pre-viewing workshop in their academic coaching classes before going to the theater. English and History teachers have been working together to create the educational piece that provides the background to the film. When your student returns from the theater, they will engage in a panel discussion and debrief of the film in their academic coaching classes. The discussion panel will be made up of actors, actresses, and members of the production crew from the film. Permission slips for the field trip are being sent home. Junior students who do not have an academic coaching class, but are interested in attending the screening, should obtain permission forms from the office.
During the discussions regarding this opportunity, teachers and administrators decided to turn the day into an educational event for all students. While sophomores and juniors will attend the screening of River of Hope, freshmen and senior students will remain on campus to view the movie Free State of Jones. Freshmen and Senior students will also have the opportunity to learn about the history behind both movies and still have the ability to see the discussion panel from River of Hope. While we recognize the importance of both films, we realize that Free State of Jones is rated R for violence relative to the Civil War and Reconstruction Period. Should you choose not to allow your student to see Free State of Jones, they will be provided content at the school that will examine the topics from both movies such as slavery, racism, the Civil War, interracial marriage, the Morrill Act and its impact on modern culture. You may provide a note to your child’s Academic Coaching teacher regarding your choice to opt out of watching Free State of Jones. Students not attending the film will still participate in the same pre- and post-film discussions.
We believe these are important films for high school-aged students to see due to their relevance to the curriculum, but more importantly, the films provoke meaningful discussions about bias and discrimination. It is our hope that this event will reverberate with the students to provide a lasting, cross-curricular experience. We are very excited to provide this opportunity for AHS students! If you have any questions, please contact me at the high school.
You can preview the movie, River of Hope, via this link to the official trailer.