PBS's "Pandemic Perspectives" Features the Work of Poly Students and Faculty

On April 26, Frontline on PBS aired "Pandemic Perspectives," a series exploring how different countries, cultures, faiths, economic status, and age groups responded to the coronavirus pandemic. This episode highlighted the Different Ships, Same Storm project that drew on experiences of global youth including Poly and Partnership for Success! (PFS!) students. 

Over the summer and fall of 2020, Ann Diederich joined forces with Elizabeth Eagle, Brendan Bannon, and Liz Titone, the co-founders of Different Ships, Same Storm, to recruit a group of seven Poly and two PFS! students to document their personal experiences and engage in a global exchange during the COVID pandemic.

Poly’s own Thibeaux H. ’21’s photography was featured in the episode. He attended Black Lives Matter protests throughout the summer supporting racial justice and captured a photo of a burning police car. He felt his segment added an important aspect to fight for racial justice during the pandemic.

“My participation in this project means a lot,” said Thibeaux. “Mostly, I was so grateful to be able to lend my voice to such an important movement. The racial inequality that currently plagues the US needs to be addressed, and I am happy that I can spread awareness and play my part as an ally.”

Poly faculty Tom Allard was also involved in the project by introducing the documentarians to Cherokee Native Americans affected by the pandemic in Stilwell, Oklahoma. Tom shares that it is still one of the original Cherokee communities, just shy of the Arkansas line. The community made news as the only school in the country not to close because of COVID-19.

“Their demographics are 80% indigenous, 45% below the poverty line,” said Tom. “Educators had no choice but improvise as the only computers were in school and the difference between a cell phone and a smartphone is that only one was attainable.”

The Different Ships, Same Storm project partnered with organizations such as Narrative 4, Art Works For Youth, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Just Buffalo Literary Center, The Most Important Picture, and E² Education and Environment. Poly’s participation was made possible with funding from the Poly Community Fund, a fund created to help the Poly community weather the pandemic and continue exceptional learning.

Check out the project here.