Gang violence and intimidation are no longer confined to inner-city schools—increasingly, they have infected suburban neighbourhoods. Residents of Malton, Ontario have been shocked to find their own youth getting caught in the crossfire. Nearby Fletcher's Meadow, an area within Brampton, runs the risk of developing similar problems due to rapid construction that outpaces community services.
In response, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board developed an ambitious vision to support at-risk youth. Among those benefitting is Chinel, a shy Grade 7 student whose high school mentor hopes to prepare him for adolescent pressures. Then there's Latasha, a Grade 8 student conflicted between her popularity and her conscience. Finally, we meet the young cast of an anti-gang film directed by the high school communications teacher. The protagonist is played by Eddie, whose real-life temptations mirror those of his lawless character.
Changing Course follows these students for one school year, revealing their challenges, victories, and the limitless potential of Catholic education.
S+L is proud to present the broadcast premiere of Mouse, the anti-gang film whose making was chronicled in Changing Course. Having gained national attention on CTV's W5, Mouse recently won Best Canadian Short Film at the ReelWorld Film Festival and a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Youth Production at the Yorkton Film Festival. Created by students and educators from the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board in association with Peel Regional Police, this half-hour production showcases the talents of Mississauga’s Malton community.
Kris Dmytrenko, writer and director of Changing Course, was interviewed on Radio Teopoli, a Toronto-area Catholic radio program on AM 530. Listen here to the "Catholic Education Week" broadcast on May 7th, 2009, which was recorded on location at St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School in Brampton, Ontario.
S+L's current affairs series examines the groundbreaking Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board initiatives behind the documentary Changing Course. Host Kris Dmytrenko interviews Ascension of Our Lord Secondary School teachers James Flaherty and Elisa Quinto, director and assistant director of the anti-gang film Mouse. Kris also speaks with Patrick McCloskey, whose new book "The Street Stops Here" reveals the potential of Catholic schools to educate inner-city youth. View the full episode streaming online.