‘Select(ed)’ Studies Superior Schools

Kayla McCormick
Kayla McCormick

How valuable is an education in improving students’ lives? A new film from documentarian Kayla McCormick follows the lives of a handful of students at a Chicago high school, including one that would go on to stardom playing basketball at Duke, and finds tremendous value, but also inequity. “It’s about the power of good education in a system where not everyone has access,” McCormick told SRQ.

Select(Ed) holds its world premiere tonight at the Sarasota Film Festival, where the movie is part of the Documentary Feature Competition.

In the course of filming Select(Ed), McCormick practically embedded at Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, one of the top charter schools in the country. What she found was a system that provided an enormous amount, but only for students lucky enough to get in.

One of the students was among the top-rates high school athletes in the country at the time, Jahlil Okafor. For those not following college ball, Okafor just won a national title with Duke University during his freshman season and quickly announced he would enter the 2015 NBA Draft.

But McCormick notes that while the system did a tremendous amount for students like Okafor, many others get left behind. “It’s very hard to get selected,” McCormick said. Meanwhile, other public schools are left to languish, failing their own student bodied. “I really hope audiences are inspired and compelled to action and to care about public education in America.”

A team of crew and producers—and some educators—will be at the premiere in Sarasota.

Select(Ed) premiers today, April 17, at 8pm. A second screening at the festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, at 1:30pm.

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