by Sister Marilyn Ficht, RSHM

LOS ANGELES, CA. Up in the sky! It‟s a bird, it‟s a plane, it‟s Super-man! In the comic strip, and later the movie, Clark Kent is a mild mannered man whom few even notice. But when someone needs a hero, he sets aside his ordinariness and reappears as the red caped hero with the “S” on his chest and comes to the rescue of an innocent person who needs help.

In the film documentary, Waiting for Superman, the lives of five children from different parts of the country are followed. Each child is motivated to succeed in life, but it’s not easy. As the film follows the efforts of parents trying to make this happen, your heart breaks as you watch a little girl looking out a window seeing her classmates go to school. But she cannot go because her mother has lost her job and can no longer afford her private school tuition. An alternative school has been set up by an independent group and provides students with a very good education, but for this child it would mean a long bus ride each morning. Even after she and her mother decide to make the trip, they still face problem of admittance. Admission depends on the luck of the lottery, and this little girl is not one of the lucky ones. Only one child is selected out of the five and the look of disappointment on the faces of both the children and the parents/ guardians says a multitude. Although their parents are determined to keep fighting to get the education that their child deserves, you have to wonder what will happen to the children and what kind of future they will have.

The fictional Superman made the world a better place because he brought hope to those in need and showed that someone cared about them. Each of us is called on to be “Superperson” when it comes to the education of children here in the United States. The danger children face is the temptation to “drop-out” of the educational system, leaving so many young boys and girls without a high school diploma. Teaching is hard work and encouraging students to want to learn is not always easy, but it is why many of us spent most of our adult lives in the classroom; some of us are still doing that.

Obviously, there are some “Supermen/women” out there, but the country needs more of them. This movie is a real eye opener about the education system in the US today. See the movie and go out and be a “Superman” for a child you know.

Pictured: Sr. Marilyn and her students at Verbum Dei High School, Los Angeles, CA
Source: RSHM Soundings “Message in a Movie” Volume XIV, Number 2 Summer 2011
Marilyn Ficht, RSHM, teaches at Verbum Dei, an inner-city high school for boys in Los Angeles, CA.