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Students and the Stars

Who doesn’t enjoy watching movies? Some schools are banking on the fact that more riveting school movies can get through to students on a new level. And they’re taking it one step farther by having students themselves create the films. Edutopia takes a look at an Illinois Department of Transportation film used to warn new drivers about potential dangers on the road. The edgy, seven-minute film was created by local high school students.

But the pairing of cinema and education doesn’t have to remain in the K-12 realm. Hollywood movie big-wigs can play a role in education. On Oscar night, the former CEO of Paramount Studios Sherry Lansing was honored for her achievements. Ms. Lansing, the first woman to head a major studio, received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. She has also created her own philanthropy arm, the Sherry Lansing Foundation, which is particularly active in education. One of the main educational programs the foundation supports is called Prime Time LAUSD, which pairs retirees with schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Other Hollywood types are trying to use their influence to improve education too. Hollywood mogul George Lucas has his George Lucas Educational Foundation which publishes the magazine Edutopia from the item above.

Ms. Lansing also is on the Teach For America board and in her Oscar-night acceptance speech, she said she found it strange to be singled out for an award when so many people in other professions doing important work. “I have met school teachers who are battling against insurmountable odds, and yet they never stop trying to reach our children,” she said. “To me, they are the real heroes, and tonight I share this honor with all of them.”

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