“The Bad Kids,” a film presenting an inside look at the triumphs and tragedies of an alternative high school in a southeastern California community, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the Central Library, 443 N. 6th St. in Grand Junction.
A wine and appetizer reception starts the evening at 6 p.m., and after the film, a panel discussion about alternative education for at-risk youths here in the Grand Valley will take place. The panel will include representatives from R-5 High School, The House, and various other support organizations.
The film screening is part of the Indie Lens Pop-Up film series being presented by Mesa County Libraries and Rocky Mountain PBS. The screening is open to the public at no charge.
“The Bad Kids” received the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award for Vérité Filmmaking.
Located in an isolated and impoverished community, Black Rock Continuation High School serves as a last chance for at-risk students. Every student there has fallen so far behind they have little hope of earning a diploma at a traditional high school. Principal Vonda Viland and the teachers at Black Rock are on a mission to realize the potential of students who have been deemed lost causes by the system. “The Bad Kids” follows Viland and her staff over a year as they tirelessly coach traumatized teens through a daunting process with compassion, respect, and a seemingly endless supply of patience.
“What we saw there left an indelible mark,” said filmmakers Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe. “Here was a principal who had a kind word or nod of recognition for each and every kid; a secretary who spent all day on the phone with parents; teachers who didn’t lecture … and these supposed ‘bad kids’ lining the hallways with their guitars, their laughter, and their clear and familial support for one another. All of this at a public school – with rising graduation rates.”
“The Bad Kids” is part of “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen,” a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help communities ensure more students graduate ready for college and careers.
For more information about “The Bad Kids,” visit the film’s website.