Pleasant View to debut documentary featuring immigrants

CIZ COM 0508 Our Town
Stonegate Elementary Principal Connie Largent, who is from South Korea, is interviewed by Gus Brown and Katie Caldwell as Madelyn Modesitt records the conversation. (Submitted photo)

Pleasant View Elementary fourth-grader Gus Brown found conducting interviews with immigrants for a documentary very educational.

“I learned that immigrants have an interesting story and how hard it is to come to the country, because when I interviewed them they said when they came here they lost some of their money,” Brown said. “They need to get a passport and they had to go through a lot of stuff. One of the persons I interviewed was from South Korea and one was from Tunisia. I asked around 20 questions.”

The project, Our Town of Immigrants, was started by Pleasant View Elementary fourth-grade teacher Cindi Hamlow, who raised money for two iPad Minis to produce the documentary.

The documentary will debut at International Night May 10 at Pleasant View Elementary, 4700 S. 975 E., Zionsville. The documentary will start at 6 p.m. and will run continuously through International Night, which is open to the public.

“To me, the most important thing that the students learned was that all of the immigrants that we interviewed came to the United States seeking the same kinds of opportunities that U.S.-born citizens seek,” said Hamlow, a Zionsville resident in her second year teaching at Pleasant View. “Some immigrants were seeking educational opportunities, some were seeking opportunities to further their careers and some were seeking the opportunity to live with a loving family.  All were excited to come to the United States and be a part of a country that allowed them those opportunities.”

The documentary was made by Hamlow’s class and another fourth-grade class taught by David Gay, who is an immigrant from Barbados. Hamlow said they interviewed 17 people who either live or work in Zionsville.

“The people we interviewed included those who came to the U.S. as adults and some who came as children, either with their entire family or through adoption,” Hamlow said.

Chetan Dave and his wife, Dharati, both from India, were interviewed. They have three students in Zionsville Community Schools, including Nandaj, in third grade at Pleasant View.

Dave said he is eager to see the finished documentary. He said the process should help the students.

“I think it will definitely give them different perspective in life,” Dave said.