Documentary features Stagg High School: empathy through storytelling

University of Illinois College of Media Instructor and Director Kenneth R. Erdey will host a premiere of his documentary, Voices of Stagg, that followed 60 Stagg High School seniors as they created and published their book, 111th and Roberts: Where Our Stories Intersect
Tuesday, August 2
7 p.m.
Stagg High School
Performing Arts Center
This free event is open to the public, but seats are limited. Reserve your seats by sending an email to indicating the number of seats you require.
Learn more about the documentary and see video clips at


An unprecedented classroom experience serves as the backdrop for VOICES OF STAGG, a touching and brave look at one school’s journey to use storytelling to build a more empathetic high school culture. A journey inspired by the kind spirit and stories shared following the loss of beloved teacher Mary Ogarek at the age of 33. 

Over the course of a school year, we intimately follow two passionate teachers and their compassionate students as they learn the art of paying witness to the voices of others. Their ultimate goal is to build empathy through publishing the stories of the complex and interesting people of the Stagg High School community. 

Bravely open about their own vulnerabilities in creating a learning environment where the answers aren’t defined by the teachers, but rather by the human experience, Lisa Thyer and Chris Wendelin facilitate 60 high school seniors in learning about themselves, about those around them, and about the really hard work of publishing a book. Many of the lessons learned are from the students themselves as they take the reigns of their learning, open their minds and their hearts to hear and tell others’ stories, and become published authors at the age of 18. 

VOICES OF STAGG is a story about the power of storytelling in helping us understand each other as human beings.


 two trailers from Kenneth R. Erdey's documentary that provide a good introduction to the film. 

The school will be collecting voluntary donations to support the Mary Ogarek Memorial Scholarship and Voice of Witness. Students will also be selling their book that evening.

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