Education Blog

Señor Cebolla

By Emily Keating, Director of Education 05.07.15

The power of story is a theme running through every JBFC education program, and its potency was on display on Friday, May 1 at Ossining High School. Director Jean-Michel Dissard led a workshop for 80 ESL students that used his moving documentary film, I Learn America, as the catalyst for a conversation about themes of identity, family, and home. The film shares the stories of five international students’ first year of high school in Brooklyn, NY. Originating from countries such as Poland and Myanmar, the Latino youth identified most closely with Brandon, who crossed the Mexican desert twice en route from Guatemala to be reunited with his mother after ten years. Dissard was given the nickname Señor Cebolla (Mr. Onion) during a student workshop abroad last month, and he lived up to it- the teachers, translators, and students were sharing boxes of tissues as they reflected on their own challenges finding a sense of place in the US.

The program is one small component of a major multi-year collaboration called Project EXCEL, between UCLA Center X, the Ossining Union Free School District, and the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns. The Jacob Burns Film Center is one of the community partners on this initiative, which is aimed at creating expanded and personalized learning opportunities for students in middle and high school who do not speak English as their first language.

We invite our extended JBFC community to see the film, followed by a panel discussion with Dissard, subjects from the film, and students from Ossining High School.

I Learn America: Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Jacob Burns Film Center
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)
Reserve your FREE ticket today!