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Far From Home

Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Rachel Tsutsumi
Directed by Rachel Tsutsumi
DVD, color, 40 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Education, Race Relations, Busing

Reviewed by Veronica Maher, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island

Date Entered: 10/12/2006

The METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) program has been around since 1966. Over three thousand students a year are bused from metropolitan Boston and Springfield, MA to thirty four school districts in the surrounding suburban area. The program is voluntary and there is an application process According the Massachusetts Department of Education web site :
“The Metco program was started in the 1960s to provide enhanced educational opportunities for urban minority students, to help integrate suburban school districts, and to reduce segregation in city schools.”

Kandice Sumner has attended Metco schools since kindergarten and is completing her senior year at Weston High School. Weston is a highly affluent community with a median home value of over a million dollars. There are approximately 160 Metco students in Weston’s schools.

Kandice is aware that she has had an opportunity that not every black student in Boston can have. Her experiences of what it’s like being a black student in a white community are told honestly and candidly. She, like her fellow Metco students, feels that she has to do better because the stereotypes are rampant, even in 2004. But Kandice is exceptional. Her mother was part of the original program and her grandfather was an activist in the sixties. The journey through her senior year is filled with highs and lows: being the first Black class president in Weston; not getting accepted to Brown; having the chance to speak at the state house; deliver a commencement address; choreographing a dance for the Black History Month assembly are but a few of the activities Kandice shares with the viewer. She got a chance to see both sides and has learned as she says “to play the game.” Kandice is now at Spelman College. More than a story of busing and race it is a personal story worth watching.