The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Weston METCO alumna speaks at Race Reels

“Far Frome Home,” a documentary concerning METCO’s effect on one Weston student, captivated audiences at February’s iteration of Race Reels.

The documentary “Far from Home” was shown at Race Reels, accompanied by guest speakers Dr. Kandice Sumner and her mother on Thursday, Feb. 29 in the MLK room. The documentary offers a glimpse into Sumner’s experiences as a Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) student at Weston High School.

The film highlighted the challenges and benefits of METCO, a program that brings Boston students to high schools in other communities, from her and her family’s perspectives. The documentary took about two years to film, spanning from Sumner’s junior to senior year.

Spanish teacher Lindsay Davis and Math and Racial Awareness teacher Haley Wells run Race Reels each month. Davis said it is very special to have Sumner come to the school each year.

“Every year, she comes as a speaker for the film, which is beautiful for me,” Davis said. “I’ve been here [at Race Reels] for seven years now. When she first came, she was in college, maybe grad school, and I’ve been able to see her grow up.”

Sophomore Clara Thibault said she was able to make connections from the film to what she sees at the high school.

“Because we have METCO at BHS, it is very similar, and you could see those resemblances even though it was a while before,” Thibault said. “It was like 20 years ago, but I was still making connections to what I see every day at school.”

After the film was over, Sumner came up to speak to the group. She spoke about her post-high-school life and where she is now. After high school, she went to Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college, and then became a teacher for seven years. In graduate school, Sumner said she wanted to study her experiences as a Black student in a predominately white school.

“The second I got to graduate school, I knew what I wanted to study: What happened to me?” Sumner said. “I then went on to get a PhD in critical feminist autoethnography.”

Sumner noted that a lot of the research she did throughout graduate school uncovered many of the reasons for her feelings of anxiety and depression throughout high school. She said the learning she did was very beneficial to her and her mental health.

“Learning about my identity brought down feelings of anxiety and depression that I constantly had throughout high school,” Sumner said.

Davis said she hopes students take away many different things from coming and watching the films and listening to speakers.

“I hope students walk away with either a window or a mirror,” Davis said. “Being like, ‘Hey, look, today there was a movie that was about me and my culture,’ or like, ‘Oh, I had no idea that this community existed.’”

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