Vermont Fest Features VT BLTN Presentations

Nov 20th, 2014 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Fall 2014
TimO'LearyPhotoby Tim O’Leary
English Teacher
Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury Vermont
MA ’07

Adam Vermont Fest 2014

VT-BLTN took the stage in Killington, Vermont on November 7th, 2014. NoraKeathley ’16 and Adam Joselson ’15, of Middlebury Union High School (VT), presented their own case-stories about creating video documentaries along with me. They spoke to K-12 teachers andadministrators from around the state at Vermont Fest, sponsored by Vita-Learn and the Vermont Agency of Education.

Adam Joselson commented, “I enjoyed the experience of talking about my documentary to a new audience that really took notice of our work.”

Nora Keathley remarked on the morning session: “I very much enjoyed being able to travel to Killington and be able to revisit the documentary project after finishing it almost a year ago. While it was originally exciting to see the reaction of our class to our documentary projects last year, it was even more interesting to be able to see the reaction and getfeedback from a greater public, especially those who are educators and have students of their own. It was also wonderful reliving how important the project was, and discussing it with a group, was helpful in remembering how important the project and subject of the project had been to us last year. Thanks again for the great experience, Mr. O’Leary!”

The one-hour session was one of many offered at that time and there was barely an open seat as it was the best attended of the seven simultaneous offerings. Nora and Adam were powerful, giving their personal accounts,successes, and contemplation on ways to improve their work. Tim engaged the audience to think about how they can make their own students heard in meaningful ways about important social issues so adults take notice and students develop a cohesive and public voice, becoming fuller members of our communities. Please visit the presentation for an overview, excerpts of video documentaries, and links to classroom materials at

I have found various local funding sources this fall: an Addison Central Education Endowment Fund grant award, a Walter Cerf Community Fund grant award, a Small and Inspiring from the Vermont Community Foundation award, a VT-NEA mini grant award, a Write to Change Foundation (Clemson University) grant, and a successful campaign. This money will help to create audio and video media kits to loan out to students.

Editor’s note: On the eve of publication, Tim shared this update on his students’ latest accomplishments with self-expression via video composition.

Nnth grade students in my class at Middlebury Union High School (VT) visited artist Kate Gridley’s exhibit “Passing Through: Portraits of Emerging Adults” this past October. (Find more information out about the artist and the exhibit at

Then, the fun happened when they turned cameras on themselves, studied one another, learned some video editing skills and produced “We Are Passing Through” as a celebration of their complex lives, while publishing a voice to share with others.



2 Comments to “Vermont Fest Features VT BLTN Presentations”

  1. Cindy Atkins says:

    Wonderful project Tim! I enjoyed watching it and listening to your students perspectives.

  2. Tim O'Leary says:

    I love these kids!

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