A showing of the Every Child Counts documentary film entitled “Every Child Counts. The amazing story of the little Abaco School that Did” was shown at the school on the evening of February 16. The world premiere of this international documentary film took place last year on April 26 at the National Art Gallery in Nassau with government officials and other dignitaries in attendance and was extremely well received.
Those who attended the Abaco premier were visibly moved by the incredible story.
The documentary has already been shown in Treasure Cay and Hope Town and at many film festivals throughout the United States and Canada.
The film was produced by Canadian independent film director Wendy Loten in conjunction with Toronto’s Ryerson University. The film chronicles the journey of the Every Child Counts School from its small beginnings about 15 years ago when Lynn Major established it to provide a learning environment for her developmentally challenged twin boys and other young children with severe developmental delays who could not learn in a normal school environment. Through hard work, dedication, a staff of incredible teachers and much support from visitors and the Abaco community, the school has grown by leaps and bounds into an establishment which provides education and hope for physically and developmentally challenged children of all ages.
Originally the idea was to make a small 10 to 15 minute film for fundraising purposes but the director soon realized that this incredible school warranted a full documentary and so this movie became a full three-year project in the making.
Jean Golden, Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University, who collaborated with Wendy Loton on this project has been associated with Every Child Counts School for several years bringing groups of students each year to assist at the school. She and several of the students were in attendance at the showing on February 16.
“The film speaks for itself,” stated Henry Pitman who first visited ECC with his wife, Ruth, six years ago. The couple, both educators from the United States, were so moved by what they saw that they are now both teaching at the school.
“Love, not money, is the motivator for teachers at ECC and Founder/Principal Lynn Major has the rare ability to let people own a piece,” he continued during his introduction of the film.
Prior to the film’s showing, two extremely talented ECC students, Ronell and Eve Rose, sang a very moving duet “Lead with your Heart”. David de Luca, who is a member of the ‘Music Doing Good’ team which has performed fundraising concerts for the school over the past two years is presently at ECC working with students to get them ready for a concert which will be held in March at the Abaco Beach Resort in which he will perform along with the students of ECC. He sang the song “Thankful” which he said describes his feelings; he is here because of what the school does for him. He was joined in the chorus by Ronell and Eve Rose.
This film not only tells the very interesting story of how the school has developed over the years but brings out in a very big way the atmosphere of love and caring amongst the students and staff. Marsden Lawley (Mr. Mars) who with his wife, Melanie, has now been teaching at the school for 10 years stated in the movie that when they first saw the school and felt its terrific spirit they felt compelled to come over.
“This is a very pure experience; one does it because it feels the right thing to do,” he stated. Several other members of staff spoke during the film and some of the points they made were how the children come from previous schools with issues of self-esteem but at ECC they are taught that they have value and an important contribution to make. For many of the children it is the first time in their life that someone has said “you can do it.”
One of the students stated, “I wouldn’t be able to do anything in life if I had stayed in the other school.”
The teachers speak of how all the children become friends. “They help each other and look out for each other, the more able helping the more disabled students. Some of the students are from good homes but some are from homes where they are neglected and at ECC they get a warm meal and a hug. They all love to come to school.”
The happiness and self-confidence that these children have attained at Every Child Counts shines out through this movie through all the big smiles the students have on their faces during all their many activities at school. One young lad became very emotional when telling about what a difference the school had made in his life. “This is the best thing that ever happened to us in life,” he stated.
This movie will continue to be shown internationally letting everyone who sees it know what a priceless treasure we have here on Abaco at ECC.