Discussion Questions

Sponsoring a panel discussion after a screening is a powerful tool to facilitate dialogue and deepen understanding of the complex issues in this film. It is also an invitation to not only sit back and enjoy the show — but to step up and take action. Here are some thought provoking questions to encourage viewers to think more deeply. 

EDUCATION:

  • This film demonstrates systemic challenges in our public education system. What do you see as policy solutions?
  • In the film, we saw that the Kelly High School community and the girls’ soccer team have very limited resources compared to other high schools, such as Whitney Young, one of the teams we see Kelly play. What practical advice would you give to students to help them succeed from early high school years through college graduation?  What are the key elements to overcoming obstacles to success during these critical years?
  • Statistics demonstrate that although more and more students from neighborhood high schools such as Kelly are attending college, the completion rate is still very low. Many students struggle once they get into college and never graduate.   Why is this  and what can we do to increase the graduation rate?
  • In a democracy, public education is supposed to level the playing field for all students–to be the great equalizer. America’s great educator, John Dewey talked about learning as the deepest form of freedom.  Our country’s founders believed public education was an “insurance policy against loss of liberty–the very freedom that they had fought so hard to win.” Why is an equal opportunity to a quality education important to the life of a democracy?  Can a democracy exist without an educated citizenry?
  • How does the future global competitiveness of Illinois and our region rest on successful human capital investment in our youth—particularly Latino youth who represent one of the fastest growing segments of our population?
  • Why is a college education so important for our youth and for the future of our country?
  • Why is it so important to address inequities in our public education system? (For example, what does it take for young people to succeed in our global economy?)
  • What do you think are the biggest challenges first generation student face in being able to complete college once they get in?  What advice would you give high school students to prepare themselves once they get into college?

IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY AND MENTORS:

  • What can parents and local communities do to help prepare their children for college?
  • Coach Stan’s wish for a new soccer field for Kelly comes true at the end of the film. This was a great example of what can happen when a community and their neighborhood school works together. What did it take to make the new field a reality?
  • The story of Kelly’s new field is the story of an engaged community that came together and never gave up–democracy in action.  Tell us about a “wish” in your community and how it came to be?  Give us an example of how your community worked with the school to make something positive happen.
  • Why is it so important to engage the community and empower them with the resources to create change and find solutions to fix things?  Why is it important  to empower the different levels of community —from region-wide to city-wide to local neighborhoods.
  • Coach Stan has been coaching at Kelly HS for over 20 years. He is an example of what a mentor means to young people and the main characters in this film talk about the importance of Coach Stan in their lives. Why is having a mentor so important to young people?  How can we as a community help increase the mentorship opportunities  to help our young adults?

ROLE OF SPORTS AND TEAMS:

  • For many of the Kelly soccer players, it was tough being able to play on the team. Some had to juggle working jobs at night, many had many family responsibilities at home – and some even faced resistance from their parents for playing on the team. Yet the girls managed to arrive every morning at 5:30 AM to practice with their team.  Why do you think they were you so committed to their team?  How did it help to be on a team and have a mentor such as Coach Stan?
  • Besides your family, who are your mentors and on your “team”?
  • What are the benefits of youth playing sports and being part of a team?
  1. provides strong sense of sisterhood/brotherhood
  2. provides a positive alternative to at-risk (delinquent) behavior
  3. helps to keep grades up and achieve higher test scores
  4. provides mentoring from a trusted adult
  5. teaches communication and leadership skills
  6. raises self-esteem
  7. teaches how to problem solve and never give up
  8. teaches how to cope with both winning and losing
  9. teaches how to have a life-long healthy life style – exercise and nutrition
  10. encourages to work as a team…so critical to success in the working world
  11.  a higher percentage go on to college