Students are treated to special showing of Pearl Harbor'


May 30, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — Popcorn and sodas flowed freely as 150 teenagers crowded the concession stand at The Movies, and it wasn't just another Friday night.

Brawley Union High School social studies students were at The Movies here Tuesday morning for a special viewing of the movie "Pearl Harbor."

Students who earned an "A" for the first semester in either a world cultures, U.S. history or civics class were treated to the movie courtesy of the social studies department and Brawley High.

Jose Flores, social studies department head, said this is the first time the department has rewarded students for A's in this way.


He came up with the idea in March, originally planning to take one of his U.S. history classes to see the movie.

However, other teachers thought students who had A's for the first semester also should attend, so Flores had to change plans.

"It started to include more and more kids, so Mr. (Garth) Isom said ‘take them all,' " he explained, referring to the BUHS district superintendent.

He added, "Mr. Isom has been very helpful in that at the end of the year there's not much money and he found some.

"We had no problems getting chaperones for this one," added Flores with a laugh.

He praised The Movies for its help.

"The manager worked really well with us. They just went out of their way for us," he said.

Flores said he chose "Pearl Harbor" because of its content (the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II) and the fact its release date was so close to Memorial Day.

"Since it's so close to Memorial Day, and there's no memorial for the World War II veterans, I feel the students need to know and be aware of the sacrifices they did," said Flores.

"Even though it's Hollywood, it's entertainment and it's not going to be totally accurate," he said.

Flores added he hopes students still gain "just an awareness of what happened in World War II … hopefully they'll gain an awareness for the battle and respect for the veterans."

That was the aim of another teacher present, Jim Weaver, whose world cultures students made up almost 40 percent of those in attendance.

"We're about to start studying World War II, so hopefully they'll have some idea of what I'm talking about," said Weaver of bringing his students to the movie.

He hoped the film would "promote discussion among the students about what happened in the movie and what we're talking about."

Weaver said he often uses Hollywood dramatizations in class to give students a picture of what they're studying.

He said "Gladiator" and "Saving Private Ryan" are two he uses.

"I edit them and only show the landing on the beach," he added.

Victor Martinez, a U.S. history teacher, said the movie was a good reward for his class.

"A lot of students regretted they didn't have the grades to go out," he said.

"I'd like to come out again in smaller groups with certain classes," Martinez added.

He continued, "It's important as teachers we make the connection between the release date and the event."

He said he likes the "atmosphere of the film."

"Even though its embellished, the culture, the dress of that era … that's hard to do in the classroom," said Martinez.

While the students appreciated the reward and the film, they seemed to appreciate the veterans even more.

"I have a lot more respect for those people now," said sophomore Meg Allen, 15, after watching the movie.

"It's hard to imagine it really happened," she added.

Josais Aguiar, 17, a senior, said, "It puts into perspective what we learned in class."

Trisha Maden, 17, a senior, said she liked how "they portrayed the president about finding out" about the attack.

"It's definitely a good reward," she said, adding if she were not a senior, the incentive of going to a movie "absolutely" would motivate her to better grades.

Tanya Ulloa, a junior, 16, said the movie, "shows us how it actually was."

She added, "It make me want to learn more about what really happened."

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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