Film about student stress to be screened in Cumberland

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CUMBERLAND — An independent film being screened next week tells stories of over-stressed students, exhausted teachers, kids who are not learning essential skills and parents trying to do the best for their children.

“Race to Nowhere” will be shown at the Cumberland Congregational Church, 282 Main St., at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1. The film, by a concerned mother-turned-movie maker, argues that some students are plagued by burnout, stress-related illness and depression, and that they enter college and the working world lacking inspiration and preparation.

According to its website, racetonowhere.com, the film is meant to move educators, families and policy makers to “challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.”

Connie Russell, president of the School Administrative District 51 Education Association, said last week that more than 40 teachers from the association attended a screening of the film in Falmouth last month. That inspired them to sponsor a showing in the Cumberland-North Yarmouth community.

“Our parents are usually very involved and supportive of their kids,” Russell said. “I think (the film) is just a reminder to continue that.”

She said the association “knows that we, along with many other groups, need to be advocates for students and what best supports their learning. By keeping up to date with forces that can impact students such as current educational research, curriculum changes, community issues as well as social media we can be better informed to connect with our students.”

Russell noted that while some of the proceeds will go to the film company, the rest will go toward the education association’s scholarship fund. Each year the association grants a scholarship to a Greely High School senior who either has a parent teaching in the district or who intends to pursue an education career.

Russell said she hopes the film will spread awareness and encourage parents “to remember to be thinking about their own children, or their students, and thinking about the balance in their lives. Because I think lots of factors impact how well kids do in school, not just the time that they actually spend in the classroom.”

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Log onto rtngreelyhighschool.eventbrite.com for advance tickets.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.