Flash Movie Review: Brooklyn Castle
My biggest accomplishment in summer camp one year was making a coat hook and a chessboard. The day camp offered a variety of classes for the campers; I chose wood shop. The first time I tried making a chessboard I got frustrated. My colored blocks of wood that I had cut out were not all symmetrical. Yes, even back then I was already a bit obsessive. Wanting to trash the whole idea, it was the camp counselor who took the time to encourage me to try again, after showing me a different way to cut the blocks out. I was not the only one who received help, there were other kids who received the counselor’s help. It was this individual’s patience and encouragement that made this class my favorite that summer. When a child receives positive motivation, the possibilities are endless for what they can achieve. In this inspirational documentary, the teachers of inner city school I.S. 318 are living proof of what a student can accomplish over challenging circumstances. With 70% of the student body coming from homes that were below the poverty level set by the federal government, the school’s chess team were national champions, the best in the country. They had won more championships than any other school in the nation. To hear these students’ personal stories only made their achievement that more impressive to me. This story followed the chess team as it attempted to repeat its past success, despite looming budget cuts that could eliminate them even before the start of competition. The film makers did a wonderful job of filming, giving the viewers a front row seat to the tension, nerves and fears these students experienced during their matches. If anyone has doubts on how much a teacher can influence their students, they need to see this impressive documentary.
3 1/4 stars