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GU Students to Appear in PBS Documentary

Wendy Wiatrowski and Maggie Gray are among several members of the Gallaudet community who will appear in an upcoming PBS documentary, Becoming Helen Keller.
Wiatrowski, who is the Summer and Enrichment Programs coordinator in the College of Professional Studies, and Gray, a 10-year-old former KDES student, acted as hand models as a film crew shot footage in Gallaudet’s TV studio in the Merrill Learning Center.

Director Laurie Block of Straight Ahead Pictures and a film crew spent Tuesday, June 22, on campus, conducting interviews and capturing fingerspelled passages. Close-up scenes of hands fingerspelling will represent Helen Keller communicating at different stages of her life.

Block found Kendall Green an ideal setting. “Gallaudet is rich in skilled and expressive signers,” she said. “All of the talented people who worked with us on this element of the film were greatly appreciated. The personalities of each individual are so evident in their hands!”

Becoming Helen Keller will be part of the PBS “American Master’s” series, co-produced by WNET in New York and WETA in Washington, D.C. As a complement to the documentary, PBS is developing extensive online educational materials, including primary source documents and historic interpretations of Helen Keller’s life. Education materials will be searchable by grade and aligned with National Social Studies standards. The documentary is due to be released in 2012.
–Jean L. Bergey

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