Gary District High School before integration. 1953 yearbook submitted by Gary resident, Elaine Long. #WV #McDowell
Updates associated with an interactive documentary project that examines the future of McDowell County, West Virginia. Posts by Elaine McMillion, documentary storyteller and project director of HOLLOW. Interactive experience will launch in May 2013.
Informational Website: www.hollowthefilm.com
Congrats to Josh Clevenger who has been accepted to the Governor’s Honors Academy this July. We interviewed Josh back in December; he is such a positive representative of the McDowell County youth! He was the only one from the county to apply and get accepted to the program. He’s got an exciting life ahead of him and we’re excited to document it!
This evening I had an awesome interview with Joshua Clevenger of Iaeger, W.Va. Josh is the mascot for Riverview High School, is active with community theatre and has big dreams of becoming a director and actor/comedian. The Clevenger family graciously welcomed me into their home where Josh talked about how his upbringing and environment formed him into the independent and ambitious spirit he is today. I look forward to working with Josh more as he helps bring more youth into the project to shoot their own docs to be featured in Hollow. He also did some great impersonations for me including, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Adam Sandler from “The Waterboy.”
MSNBC: Morning Joe, “Low-performing schools in rural county get a new boost”
Gayle Manchin and AFT President Randi Weingarten talk about Reconnecting McDowell a 3-5 year partnership which focuses on instruction, recruitment and retention of teachers, as well as housing, transportation, job creation and social issues. She also talks about the partners of the program including unions, Frontier, Energy companies, Cisco, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, among others.
I am very curious to find out more about their “comprehensive plan.” I will be following this development and hope that they hold all of their promises to the community…McDowell County can’t afford any more false hope.
The timing of this announcement couldn’t be more alligned with Hollow. Ry Rivard and I have been developing and talking about doing a project about WVa’s issue with rural brain drain since 2009. I started doing the groundwork this August and will be shooting all next summer. I hope that we can see some improvements from Reconnecting McDowell while filming for the interactive documentary.
The Washington Post published a photo story on McDowell County after news about the American Federation of Teacher’s “Reconnecting McDowell.” Ed Shephard was featured in the article along with members of the board of education and local families. See the WaPo gallery here. And read the full story here.
I interviewed Ed Shepherd back in August in his business in Welch. See the short video here.