Weekly roundup: Santa Ana Unified students gain filmmaking experience, National History Day turns 50, and more

SAUSD Heninger Elementary film pathway program
Student Jeremias Aguilero was one of the lead actors for a student-produced film called “Apart.” (Courtesy of Irene Guzman, teacher at Heninger Elementary)

A college and career pathway program at Heninger Elementary is giving students opportunities to share their personal stories through writing, directing and acting.

The Santa Ana Unified School District campus collaborates with Creating Creators, a company that, over the course of 34 weeks, leads students and their teachers alongside film industry professionals through the entire creative and technical journey of crafting a short film.

SAUSD Heninger Elementary students inspect camera
(Courtesy of Creating Creators)

In May, a fourth-grade class at Heninger showcased their film titled “Apart” at The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. The screenplay was written by a student who drew inspiration from her classmates’ personal experiences, particularly those who had endured separation from their parents.

“A kid’s point of view of immigration and what’s happening is special,” said teacher Irene Guzman. “They have stories to tell and we got to pull them out.”

In an interview with Spectrum News 1, the students behind the film say the storyline follows the journey of a young boy, Juan, and his friend as they raise money to buy Juan’s mother a ticket to California.

Their film and other pieces that were shown at the theater can be viewed on YouTube.

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • The Orange County Department of Education is assisting National History Day — or NHD — in unveiling the 2023-24 theme of “Turning Points in History,” as it celebrates 50 years of engaging young historians in cultivating critical thinking, honing research skills and nurturing a deeper understanding of the country’s past.
  • OCDE has partnered with Orange County Health Care Agency, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Western Youth Services and CalOptima Health to develop a plan to increase services and support for student mental health in all of Orange County’s 28 school districts.
Los Alamitos HS Oasis wellness garden
  • The Orange Unified School District Board of Education passed a parental notification policy that will require a certificated staff member or principal to inform parents if their child — who is under 12 years of age — requests to be identified as a different gender.
  • Petitions calling for the recall of two Orange Unified School District board members were approved for circulation by the Orange County Registrar of Voters, according to the OC Register.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.