Tenn. School Stars in Film

By David J. Hoff — September 22, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Paper Clip Project is subject of documentary

A documentary about a collection of 30 million paper clips isn’t common fare at film festivals.

But the story of how students at a Tennessee middle school collected the fasteners in a project designed to memorialize Holocaust victims is making the festival circuit-and wowing audiences along the way.

The 84-minute film-titled simply “Paper Clips"-has won audience-choice awards in Washington, Atlanta, Palm Springs, Calif., and Rome, Ga. It is scheduled for theatrical release next month.

The power of the film, according to its producer, is watching students from a rural, predominantly Christian community come to understand the plight of European Jews from another generation. Scenes in which Holocaust survivors meet the students are especially poignant, according to Joe Fab, who produced, wrote, and directed the film with Elliot Berlin.

“You have this meeting of two groups from really, really different backgrounds,” Mr. Fab said in an interview last week. “You watch as people tell their horrific stories, and these people sit rapt, listening. You see the genuine openness of the people there.”

Mr. Fab and his collaborators first discovered the Paper Clip Project from the attention it drew in the news media. Starting in 1998, students at Whitwell Middle School set out to collect one paper clip for each of the 6 million victims who died in the Holocaust. (“School’s Paper Clip Project Attracts Worldwide Attention,” May 2, 2001.)

By now, the students have received 30 million paper clips. All of them are stored in a boxcar that once carried prisoners to concentration camps. The school purchased it from Germany’s state-owned railway company and moved it to its grounds.

Today, students at the school lead tours of the rail car and share some of the 30,000 documents the project has collected, according to Linda M. Hooper, the principal of the grades 5-8 school, about 25 miles from Chattanooga.

The students who started the project are now juniors and seniors in high school and are still involved. Just this month, several traveled to the film festival in Rome, Ga., to take part in a forum discussing the documentary after it was shown there.

“They’ve had so much opportunity to go places and meet a diversity of people that they never would have had if they hadn’t done this project,” Ms. Hooper said.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP