Perspectives Freshmen, Chicago International Film Festival and The Homestretch Movie

March 18, 2015

The entire freshmen class of Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy (MSA) was invited by the Chicago International Film Festival to view the documentary film The Homestretch which follows three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future.

A primary goal of educators at Perspectives is to instill a sense of compassion for all things diverse through the A Disciplined Life education model and using film to compliment in class instruction is just one way that teachers illustrate real life examples, including homelessness. “I hope that our freshman will be more empathetic toward homelessness,” said Perspectives 9th grade Algebra teacher Tanya Gaughan. “I hope they will feel driven to reach out and help others and realize that, though the students represented in the movie struggle every day of their lives, they still have focus and goals and purpose to do better and to succeed.”

On a daily basis, Perspectives students study the 26 principles of A Disciplined Life (ADL) that help students develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships, and tools for productivity.

The MSA students learned about each of these smart, ambitious teenagers - Kasey, Anthony and Roque - and were surprised, inspired, and challenged to rethink stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their education while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. Through haunting images, intimate scenes, and first-person narratives, these teens take us on their journeys of struggle and triumph. As their stories unfold, the film connects us deeply with larger policy issues of juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQIA rights.

With unprecedented access into the Chicago Public Schools, The Night Ministry’s “Crib" Emergency Shelter and Teen Living Programs, The Homestretch follows these kids as they move through the milestones of high school while searching for a warm place to sleep, a quiet place to study, the privacy to shower. The film goes beyond high school, to focus on the crucial transition after graduation, when the structure of school vanishes, and homeless youth struggle to find the support and community they need to survive and be independent. A powerful, original perspective on what it means to be young, homeless and building a future in America today.

The film is funded, in part, by The MacArthur Foundation, the Sundance Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures, The Chicago Community Trust, Polk Bros. Foundation, and Pierce Family Foundation, among others.

The Homestretch is a co-production of Kartemquin Films and Spargel Productions.