"Voices of Stagg" film screening Nov. 1

The College of Media is hosting a free film screening of "Voices of Stagg" on Nov. 1 at the Art Theater in downtown Champaign. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the film begins at 7:30. A panel discussion will follow.

"Voices of Stagg" is a documentary about how one high school turned a tragedy into a lesson on empathy. 

An unprecedented classroom experience serves as the backdrop for “Voices of Stagg,” a touching and brave look at one school’s journey to use storytelling to build a more empathetic high school culture. A journey inspired by the kind spirit and stories shared following the loss of a beloved teacher, Mary Ogarek, at the age of 33.

Over the course of a school year, the film follows two teachers and their students as they learn the art of paying witness to the voices of others. Their ultimate goal: to build empathy through publishing the stories of the complex and interesting people of the Stagg High School community. “Voices of Stagg” is a story about the power of storytelling in helping us understand each other as human beings.

About the Director
Kenneth R. Erdey teaches in the College of Media at the University of Illinois. During his 25-year career as a television news photographer, he has covered U.S. Presidents, sports stars, celebrities and politicians. The stories that stuck with him, though, were those of everyday people. 

“The students in this film not only experience a project where they write a book,” Erdey said. “They learn how to be better. Not just better writers and listeners, but better people. The growth I have seen in these 60 young people is life-changing.”

Learn more about the film here.


A panel discussion following the film includes:
• Lisa Thyer and Chris Wendelin, Stagg teachers
• Jamie Price, Stagg student
• Dr. Gigi Secuban, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois
• Moderator: Kenneth R. Erdey