PBS Special Focuses on Toms River Students, Teachers
Driving Jersey episode will air Labor Day night
An episode of Driving Jersey that will be airing on Labor Day on PBS (NJTV) at 10:30 p.m.will put the spotlight on Toms River and Manahawkin educators and students, and others schools across the state.
The episode, Education, is described as "a celebration of sorts of public school educators in the state."
Steve Rogers, who is the producer and director of the series, told the Patch: "We traveled from Weehawken down to Manahawkin talking to educators and their students and the result is a really beautiful look at some folks and some kids who are refreshing and real and doing and have done some wonderful things. "
When Rogers lost his job, he hit the road and began finding people who were willing to tell their stories. The result was the Driving Jersey series, a web video series that is a reflection of the most misunderstood and misrepresented place and people in the entire country - New Jersey.
In this piece, Rogers chronicles the life of his mother, Adele Rogers, who retired in 2000 after teaching for five decades and in the same classroom and school for a quarter of a century.
In 2011 she lost her educational mentor and best friend, her husband, Charles David Rogers. He too was a teacher, and a principal and professor. It was announced shortly after her retirement that she would be honored by her town for her years of service to the children, for a lifetime of lessons. “I only have one regret,” she said upon hearing the news, “that he couldn't be here to see this, to see a teacher honored in this way.”
The series follows Rogers back to her old school to visit after being away from her home away from home for a decade.
"I come from an family of educators, mother, my father, my brother, and at this time of year, we' always be in my mom's classroom helping her set up," Rogers said. "So this was personal, but it is also a discussion on how teachers have been taking a lot of hits lately, and may not be getting the due they certain deserve."
The series also visits other schools throughout New Jersey. In Toms River, the crew spent some time with Michelle Britton’s kindergarten class at the Walnut Street School. Rogers was a classmate of Brittons at Southern Regional High School, and he said he wanted to portray her unique style of education.
"We really wanted to celebrate people, who are good teachers and doing great things in an an out-of-the-box way, and I think we captured that," he said.
In Weehawken, the camera crew visited with Principal/Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Peter J. Olivieri.