North Central’s academic departments, campus offices host documentary Oct. 4

Oct 04, 2012

North Central College will present the documentary, “Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in the theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall. A faculty and student discussion, with audience participation, will follow the free event.

The screening of “Race to Nowhere” is co-sponsored by North Central’s education, athletics, health and physical education, English, political science, and sociology and anthropology departments; Office of Ministry and Service; Dyson Wellness Center; Leadership, Ethics & Values; Oesterle Library; and Writing Center.  

The documentary examines the pressures faced by young people, teachers and parents in our nation’s high-stakes public and private education system and pressure-cooker culture. Featuring the stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, “Race to Nowhere” points to this silent epidemic in K-12 schools.

The documentary was created as a “call to mobilize families, educators and policy makers to challenge current assumptions” on how to best prepare our youth.

“The education department wanted to bring this film to campus because it relates directly to our students who have grown up in this culture and are now studying to be professionals in many disciplines related to the film’s topic,” says Julie Carballo, adjunct assistant professor of education.

Faculty and staff panelists include Stephen Maynard Caliendo, professor of political science; Gerald Gems, professor of health and physical education; Jennifer Jackson, associate professor of English, director of the Writing Center and First-Year Writing; Jennifer Keys, associate professor of sociology and chair of political science/sociology and anthropology; Maureen Kincaid, associate professor and chair of education; and Brian Rainville, director of ministry and service.

Student panelists include Nicole Spizzirri, graduate assistant, Dyson Wellness Center; Melissa Guido ’13, elementary education major; Kristen Luchene ’15, psychology major and peer health educator, Dyson Wellenss Center; and John Sienkiewic ’14, sociology major.

Others include Dina Tufo ’09, middle school teacher and current education graduate student; and Joseph Massey, high school English teacher and current graduate student in education. The discussion will be facilitated by two Blue Key Honor students and education majors: Katie Barrett ’14 and Elizabeth Novak ’14.

For more information about the film, including the film’s trailer and list of featured experts, visit For more information about the event, contact Carballo at or 630-637-5736.