Carnegie Mellon University
May 08, 2014

Press Release: Videos by Local High School Students Address Technology, Depression, Adversity

Carnegie Mellon's Hear Me 101 Project Sets Public Screening for May 22

Contact: Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 /

Hear Me Logo2PITTSBURGH—Students from five local high schools focused their cameras on classmates, teachers and communities to produce documentary videos addressing such topics as bullying, the role of technology in education and school rankings.

The videos, produced through the Hear Me 101 project run by Carnegie Mellon University and three other community organizations, will be screened for the public at 6 p.m., May 22 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland.

The Hear Me 101 project included about 50 students from Clairton High School, McKeesport Technology Center, Steel Valley High School and the F.U.S.E. after school program, which includes students from Wilkinsburg High School and Imani Christian Academy. The project is a partnership between CMU's CREATE Lab, Pittsburgh Filmmakers Youth Media Program, the Consortium for Public Education and The Western Pennsylvania Writing Project.

Through the project, students had the opportunity to talk about issues important to young people in their schools and communities.

"Hear Me 101 is focused on creating a legitimate and safe platform for young people to participate in crucial dialogues — or even start them, in some cases," said Jessica Pachuta, the project's co-director. "Some of the students will continue working on their messages this summer as paid interns of the CREATE Lab with support and resources to connect youth stories to stakeholders and decision-makers."

For the video documentaries, students at Clairton and McKeesport explored the role of media and technology in regard to education. In the videos, one group of Clairton students talks about the multimedia approach to bullying among middle school girls; another group questions if Clairton's strict Internet and technology policies put students at a learning disadvantage. At McKeesport, students produced three documentaries with topics ranging from the role of hip-hop and video games in education, to the high rates of depression among teenagers.

Documentaries from students at Steel Valley and F.U.S.E. confront the theme of overcoming adversity. At Steel Valley, students explore what it means to have been ranked 437th out of 500 schools in the state, while Wilkinsburg and Imani students talk about the obstacles students must overcome to be successful and follow their dreams.

A panel discussion following the videos will feature Emmai Alaquiva of Hip Hop on L.O.C.K., an arts mentoring program; Amma Ababio, a student member of TeenBloc, a coalition of local student leaders; and an as-yet unnamed representative from Allies for Children, a regional child advocacy group.

After May 22, the videos will be available for online viewing at

The Hear Me 101 Project is supported by the Heinz Endowments, the Grable Foundation and the Pittsburgh Foundation. It is operated as part of Hear Me, a project of the Robotics Institute's CREATE Lab that helps young people use technology to communicate their ideas and concerns in innovative ways.