Sponsored Project

Class of 2020

Director(s):
Julie Bayer Salzman, Josh Salzman
Producer(s):
Julie Bayer Salzman, Susan Littenberg, Sarah Olson

A group of struggling yet determined public high school teens enroll in a groundbreaking, for-credit high school course in Mindfulness that changes their lives in unexpected ways. "Class of 20/20" is an experiential feature documentary that chronicles the inspiring journey of these teens as they begin to understand the power of their own minds, and learn how to help themselves overcome the intense pressures of high school, and the world around them.

In the documentary "Class of 20/20", we experience what a meaningful inquiry practice looks like, and how a secular mindfulness education can shape one’s character, and thus change the trajectory of an individual’s life. It will be clear what an important learning skill it is for today’s youth, who live in a world of information-overload and nonstop selfies and status updates. Opportunities for quiet contemplation and active inquiry give kids one crucial new skill in their toolkit: how to deal with the non-stop ramblings of the human mind. That skill, if taught with integrity and authenticity, on a wide scale, invariably will lead to a more peaceful and empathetic society.

The Mindfulness class designed by Peace in Schools is giving teens in the Portland, OR, public school system 65-70 hours of deep, contemplative study, at a time when teens have a massive window of neuroplasticity. They are leveraging the human brain to internalize, to embody, and to create new neural pathways. We think this is exactly the kind of education all kids should be getting in every public school in the country, and it’s why we’re documenting the process and making a film out of it.

"Class of 2020" focuses on a program at the high school level; yet, these teens are truly a microcosm of the larger population. People of all walks of life who struggle to stay afloat in deeply troubling waters will be inspired to see how our characters learn to navigate these channels with grace, humility, empathy and compassion for themselves and others. This film offers life-lessons for everyone.

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