This fall, public media tells the story of Moses, one of thousands of at-risk youths in America today, in The One That Got Away. The one-hour special premiering Monday, September 12 at 9:30 p.m. ET on THIRTEEN; Wednesday, September 14 at 8 p.m. ET on NJTV; and Sunday, September 18 at 9 p.m. ET on WLIW21, follows Gill as he reconnects with Moses currently serving 15 years for murder in the New Jersey state prison, and examines the relevant issues about teaching, familial and communal responsibility, and at-risk children. The program is airing during Spotlight Education (September 12-17), a special week of primetime news, public affairs and documentary programming on public media stations in New York and New Jersey focusing on the brightest ideas and toughest challenges facing today's students and America's education system.
Filmed over the course of three years by Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmakers John Block and Steve McCarthy, Moses' life unfolds through interviews with the man himself, his family, teachers, and classmates, including his mother Twanda Moses; his father Shelton White; his cousin Ottis Wright; science teacher Nicole Blank; social studies and lead teacher Dan Gill; math teacher Peter von Hoffman; language arts teacher Deborah Maher; in class support teacher Tracey Wolfson; and more.
Each interview reveals how the intertwined forces of home life, school life and street life can negatively impact a child, particularly one growing up in impoverished conditions.
"I believe if all circumstances are not aligned appropriately that you can get off track to success when you come from a challenging location," says James Earle, principal of Montclair High School in New Jersey. "But here's what has to happen: there has to be someone to rescue you, to give you a lifeline…and we forget quite often that someone rescued us."
Though Gill knows it is too late to rescue Moses, he still thinks about that little boy in his sixth grade class. Two years after Moses' conviction, Gill takes a one-day leave of absence from school to visit Moses. He wants to help a kid who is in his class, one not unlike Moses, Gill asks Moses, "I got a kid like you. You got any advice for me?"
"Always pursue and let him know that you love him," says Moses.
According to JANUS/Solutions, it costs $46,000 a year to house an inmate in New Jersey's state prison system, while the estimated average cost of providing comprehensive support for an at-risk youth and his or her family in N.J. is $20,000. Block and McCarthy hope The One That Got Away can spark a national conversation about how to help America's youth in troubling situations.
The One That Got Away is a production of BlockMcCarthy Films LLC. Director/Producer/Co-editor is John Block. Producer/Director of Photography is Steve McCarthy. Funding for The One That Got Away is provided by the JPB Foundation and the Ford Foundation as part of Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America; and the John and Rose Cali Family Foundation; New Jersey Education Association; Silver Family Foundation, Montclair, N.J.; and others.
The One That Got Away is one of three specials broadcast this fall as part of Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, WNET's multi-platform public media initiative providing critical programming on poverty, income equality, and opportunity. Getting Ahead, Tavis Smiley's report on the minimum wage, and Dream On with political comedian John Fugelsang about what has become of the American dream air on Friday, October 7 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET respectively in New York on THIRTEEN.
WNET is America's flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET's groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
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