All AAPS eighth graders treated to viewing of Selma

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“Sad, but good.”

That’s how three eighth graders walking out of the movie “Selma” summed up the award-winning movie Friday morning at Cinemark on Carpenter Road.

Thanks to the generosity of Old National Bank and the AAPS Educational Foundation, eighth graders from all five AAPS middle schools have now seen the movie about the fight for civil rights.

“Students have been excited and are waiting with anticipation to see this movie commemorating the historical events of our civil rights era,” said Clague Middle School teacher Bruce Geffen, before the field trip Friday morning. “Some have seen it, some haven’t, but all have a more comprehensive understanding of what the movie depicts based on the lessons teachers have been presenting before watching this movie.”

Old National Bank CEO Bob Jones saw the movie in his home state of Indiana and thought it had important message, said Todd Clark, Region President of Old National Bank in Ann Arbor.

“He believes kids are removed from civil rights movement, and how we got to where we are today,” said Clark. “We feel in our role as a community bank, it’s important to be able to address this important issue with local students of our community.”

The students arrived at the film with a good understanding of the story presented in the movie because their schools incorporated it into the curriculum.

“It was a good movie, and very educational,” said Emily, a Clague student. “Seeing what happened in Selma was very interesting.”

The bank paid for $5.50 per ticket for 1,134 AAPS students, teachers and chaperones, while the AAPS Educational Foundation paid for their bus transportation.

Executive Director Linh Song said the foundation became involved because it was a great chance to partner with Old National’s effort and because the bank is supportive of public school students developing a stronger sense of social justice.

“This understanding gives a point of reference on their own and fellow community members’ experiences,” she said. “We’re hopeful that our youth will become more engaged and work towards social change as part of their educational experience here.”

Students from Kalamazoo, Saline, Lenawee County, and the Washtenaw International Middle Academy also were treated to the movie, as were students in three Indiana cities.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for our students to be the benefactors of this generous gift from Old National Bank,” says Geffen.  “When a business steps up like this to assist with the overall education of our students, everyone comes out ahead, and makes a memorable impression on the eighth grade students of the Ann Arbor Public Schools.”

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