Newton North in New Orleans: Historical film gives context, meaning to work


The Newtonite

Senior Mercedes Rosario-Morales preps a wall for painting
Senior Mercedes Rosario-Morales preps a wall for painting

by Leah Budson
Each year, a group of students from this school goes on a service trip to New Orleans to help repair houses devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This blog will give you daily updates, through text, interviews, pictures, and videos, of our trip. The group includes students in the Leadership in a Diverse Society course, carpentry major students, students from the Blue Hills Regional Technical School, and advanced TV production students. This blog will focus more closely on the Leadership class, as the writer is a student in that program.
Day 3: Tuesday, April 8
As part of the New Orleans trip, the students watch one act of BBC’s “When the Levees Broke” each night and debrief afterwards. For many students, watching Act I of the film Monday night changed the way they thought about their work today.
Senior Mariajose Lozada-Oliva said that watching the film was an emotional experience for her. “I definitely teared up at moments,” she said. “It was really hard to see what happened here, when we’re in this city. It’s just really intense.”
After having seen the film, some students were inspired to work harder and more efficiently. “The best part of today was actually getting stuff done,” Lozada Oliva said. “I did a lot of heavy work today, and it was amazing. I loved it.”
Senior Brianna Richardson seconded Lozada Oliva. “I liked being able to accomplish painting a room. That was the best thing,” she said. “I loved that we were able to get a lot done this time.”
Richardson also discussed her frustration with the lack of government help provided to New Orleans that the film had highlighted. ”¬†It just really opens your eyes to the world and how the government really acts in situations like that,” she said. “To see that they’re not behind us 100 percent makes you wonder, a lot.
“It’s called the United States. The USA is supposed to be able to unite everybody. If our government is going to be the one in charge of the US, it’s going to have to step up its game.”
Richardson concluded by noting that seeing New Orleans in 2005 in the film and seeing the Lower Ninth Ward now “shows that we still have a lot to do.¬†People need to think about other people more and not just themselves.”
Amidst the emotions of the film and the devastation of the district, students were still able to enjoy themselves during service today.
Senior Jesse Metzger described a silver lining to the rain and hail that came in the afternoon. “We were on the front porch because it was raining, and [TV production teacher Scott Dunlop] whips out his harmonica, and Mr. Dwayne, the guy whose project we were working on, starts doing some freestyle and singing the blues.”