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Valley High School Turns Trip to the Movies into Journalism Teaching Moment

September 22, 2014

Valley High School Movie OutingPonder this for a moment: You are a high school student and someone offers you the opportunity to view a first-run movie at a local theater during the school schedule. What would you do? Of course you would go. But what are the conditions? We explore all of these questions.

Through the generosity of CityServe of the Tri-Valley and others, this potential became a reality. CityServe is a community/faith based organization that supports a multitude of schools and other civic organizations. Over the last few years, they have “adopted” Valley High School in Dublin and have supported a number of their initiatives. Since last spring they have generously hosted a “Breakfast Club” on alternating Fridays. Through this venture, they have provided a healthy breakfast to the students at VHS.

Executive Director, Gloria Gregory has been the “tip of the spear” in leading this effort. While CityServe has supported many organizations throughout the Tri-Valley, VHS has become one of their favorite partners. In August, Gloria and her husband, Dean, viewed the widely distributed film “When the Game Stands Tall” at the Regal Cinemas. The film chronicles the path of the highly decorated De La Salle Football team once their 151 game winning streak had been stopped. The film depicts the many challenges that their coach and teammates met once they realized that the “streak” had little to do with themselves and how they must create a legacy for themselves. The film is based on a book by former Contra Costa Times Writer Neil Hayes. Generally, movie critics have been kind to the film and its message.

However, this is where it takes a local turn. Again, with Gloria’s association with the students of Valley High School and the positive messages delivered through the film, she wanted the VHS students to have access to this movie. Through her best efforts, she attempted to negotiate a reduced rate for both admission and refreshments. Once rebuffed, she further reached out directly to City of Dublin leadership in the form of Mayor Tim Sbranti and Councilman Dave Haubert to supplement this effort. It was successful in that the Valley High School students were able to participate in this event at no personal cost.

Valley High School Students with David HaubertThe fortunate part of this experience is that two VHS staff members were able to transform this movie outing into learning moments. Both English Teacher Laurie Sargent and Journalism Teacher Charles White were able to extend this experience into actual assignments.

We had the opportunity to visit Mr. White’s Journalism classroom and to continue the dialogue relative to the viewing of the film and to the role of journalism in 2014. It was a fascinating and stimulating conversation and led to understanding how this current generation of young people consumes news and general information – largely online and with very few filters.

We are pleased to share the evaluation of the film “When the Game Stands Tall” by Valley High School Student, Cassidy Milichichi:

When the Game Stands Tall

by Cassidy Milichichi, Valley High School student

When the Game Stands Tall movie posterIn the film, “When the Game Stands Tall”, it is based off of a true story. The main characters, Bob Ladouceur, T.K. Kelly, Cam Calvin, and Chris Ryan made the biggest impact to the movie. I believe that director, Thomas Carter, could not have better casted the roles portrayed in this film. A particular scene that stood out and sent a good message was De La Salle High School’s first when they lost their “streak”. That scene shows a form of Identity because they go from having a lead of 151-game winning streak to the beginning of losing their reputation of being the number one winning team.

I believe this film related to our quarterly theme of Identity because it showed that they had their 151-game winning streak, then losing that, De La Salle fans began to notice “The Streak” slipping right out of their hands, which was a big part of the film. Being the winning team became their Identity. Their “streak” represented their ultimate winning of every game. The streak could be both a blessing and a curse as it all just depends the way you see things. In my opinion I believe it gave them a false Identity. You cannot predict that you will win every game. You just have to work together as a team like family to keep the bond, “streak”, alive.

Having had the privilege to leave school and go see this film as a school was an overall great experience and I personally enjoyed every moment spent being able to meet new students and get to know them and the staff on a more personal level outside of school. I strongly suggest for future trips and to have a meeting after school for students to drop ideas for the next trip decided.

Aside from that, I enjoyed this film very much. The greatest part would most definitely be that through their last game, every player takes a risk not only for themselves but for the team and the game itself. If I were a movie critic I would rate this film a “5” on a scale of 1-5. is pleased to share this story and the feedback from a Valley High School student. Perhaps a future journalist will emerge from this classroom and impact the way that we consume information.

When the Game Stands Tall Hacienda Crossings


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