Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey, is the anchor school for the south end in Montclair. The school is divided into houses, each of whose students keep the same core teachers from sixth through eighth grade. Tourrie Moses was a highly promising student, inquisitive, engaged, and eager to learn when he entered Glenfield in the sixth grade. Friendly and well-liked by his teachers and classmates, he was elected president of the student council by eighth grade.
But what happened to Moses — once considered bound for a top college by his teachers — in the ensuing years causing him to spend more time in the streets than in school? Why is Dan Gill, a teacher at Glenfield for more than 40 years, still haunted by Moses, the student he calls “the one that got away”?
This fall, public media tells the story of Moses, one of thousands of at-risk youths in America today, in The One That Got Away. The one-hour special premiering Monday, September 12 at 9:30 p.m. ET on THIRTEEN;Wednesday, September 14 at 8 p.m. ET on NJTV; and Sunday, September 18 at 9 p.m. ET on WLIW21, follows Gill as he reconnects with Moses currently serving 15 years for murder in the New Jersey state prison, and examines the relevant issues about teaching, familial and communal responsibility, and at-risk children. The program is airing during Spotlight Education (September 12-17), a special week of primetime news, public affairs and documentary programming on public media stations in New York and New Jersey focusing on the brightest ideas and toughest challenges facing today’s students and America’s education system.
Filmed over the course of three years by Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmakers John Block and Steve McCarthy, Moses’ life unfolds through interviews with the man himself, his family, teachers, and classmates, including his mother Twanda Moses; his father Shelton White; his cousin Ottis Wright; science teacher Nicole Blank; social studies and lead teacher Dan Gill; math teacher Peter von Hoffman; language arts teacherDeborah Maher; in class support teacher Tracey Wolfson; and more.
Each interview reveals how the intertwined forces of home life, school life and street life can negatively impact a child, particularly one growing up in impoverished conditions.
A challenging location
“I believe if all circumstances are not aligned appropriately that you can get off track to success when you come from a challenging location,” says James Earle, principal of Montclair High School in New Jersey. “But here’s what has to happen: there has to be someone to rescue you, to give you a lifeline…and we forget quite often that someone rescued us.”
Though Gill knows it is too late to rescue Moses, he still thinks about that little boy in his sixth grade class. Two years after Moses’ conviction, Gill takes a one-day leave of absence from school to visit Moses. He wants to help a kid who is in his class, one not unlike Moses, Gill asks Moses, “I got a kid like you. You got any advice for me?”
“Always pursue and let him know that you love him,” says Moses.
According to JANUS/Solutions, it costs $46,000 a year to house an inmate in New Jersey’s state prison system, while the estimated average cost of providing comprehensive support for an at-risk youth and his or her family in N.J. is $20,000. Block and McCarthy hope The One That Got Away can spark a national conversation about how to help America’s youth in troubling situations.
The One That Got Away is a production of BlockMcCarthy Films LLC. Director/Producer/Co-editor is John Block. Producer/Director of Photography is Steve McCarthy. Funding for The One That Got Away is provided by the JPB Foundation and the Ford Foundation as part of Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America; and the John and Rose Cali Family Foundation; New Jersey Education Association; Silver Family Foundation, Montclair, N.J.; and others.
The One That Got Away is one of three specials broadcast this fall as part of Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, WNET’s multi-platform public media initiative providing critical programming on poverty, income equality, and opportunity. Getting Ahead, Tavis Smiley’s report on the minimum wage, andDream On with political comedian John Fugelsang about what has become of the American dream air on Friday, October 7 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET respectively in New York on THIRTEEN. – USNewswire