Saving Red Cedar takes action

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By Jasmin Rojo
Old Town Lansing staff writer

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University students work with documentary filmmakers to save a local school closure.

The documentary

Widening the Gap” is a documentary about the recent announcement of Red Cedar Elementary school closing. It is being produced by Marcus L. Sigh and Liesel Carlson, and will showcase students and the economic issues associated with the school closing.

The project came about when the school board announced that it would close the school at the end of this year.  Since the announcement, “Widening the Gap” had since emerged to begin documenting the school.

The documentary will present several different aspects of Red Cedar Elementary. It is unique by race, ethnicity, and culture. Located in East Lansing, Red Cedar Elementary is home to students of low income families.

Bonnie Bucqueroux, professor at Michigan State University, is involved with the documentary, as well as the journalism course that offers students experience for documenting films. The course, Journalism 492: Community Documentary Filmmaking is developing the “Saving Red Cedar” project which allows people to take initiative for the school and make their voices heard.

“MSU has looked into this and find out why they are closing it down,” Bucqueroux said. “They are closing for budget reasons.”

Bucqueroux also mentioned Michigan State’s progress in its course.

“We’re doing advocacy journalism and that means documentary filmmaking that takes a point of view,” Bucqueroux said. “We’re working with that group and making a set of miniseries documentaries that students have been working on.”

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Professor Bonnie Bucqueroux researches online before teaching her journalism 300 course. (Photo credit to Jasmin Rojo)

The Michigan State journalism 492 students also started a petition on their website. It allows people to sign it in order to save the school from closing this summer.

What will be lost

If the school closes, it would make students need to go to further away schools. Students with special needs will also be affected.

Josh Kirkland, a senior at Michigan State University majoring in psychology, tutors at Red Cedar Elementary. Kirkland also mentioned how sentimental it will be once the school closes.

“I’ve been tutoring for 2 years and I was shocked to hear it would close,” Kirkland said. “It was bittersweet and the school had a great atmosphere; so diverse.”

Kirkland also mentioned how others were upset about the news.

“I know a few teachers were upset,” Kirkland said. “They worked there for a long time.”

More on documentary

“Widening the Gap” is set to be released in October of this year.

Contact reporter Jasmin Rojo at for more information.

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