CHS is National Runner Up in No Barriers Challenge

From left to right: Nick Visco, Jackson Lee, Isabella Olson, Kyla Staton, Kayla Hampton, Eleanor Clark, Nichole Noel and Jordan Smith hold up their winnings. Photo by Ella Terry.

A team of nine Carrboro High students has won National Runner Up in the No Barriers Global Impact Challenge. The team, called Spectrum Unfiltered, includes Eleanor Clark, Jarrad Cotten-Fox, Kayla Hampton, Jackson Lee, Nichole Noel, Isabella Olson, Jordan Smith, Kyla Staton and Nicholas Visco: a diverse group of students spanning several grade levels.

The No Barriers Global Impact Challenge is a national challenge where groups of students create projects to increase inclusion and diversity in their communities and break down barriers, hence the name. Spectrum Unfiltered planned a film festival that will showcase films that raise awareness of the issues that people face every day and how by facing those challenges, they’ve become stronger people. The film festival aims to start conversation in the Chapel Hill- Carrboro community involving people of all races, orientations, abilities and origin.

The idea for this film festival originated at CHS’s Culture Fest with newcomer students, according to Melissa Barry, a CHS teacher who works with students who have disabilities.

“In the audience there were newcomer students who were getting excited when their country was coming up, but then the entire movie was about facts about the country from a very American perspective, and many of the students were sharing that it wasn’t capturing all of [the countries],” said Barry.

After Culture Fest, Spectrum Unfiltered decided to continue the idea of the film festival. The team interviewed several different people in the community to get different perspectives and have conversations about discrimination and acceptance.

Barry thinks that the interviews really solidified the students’ desire to continue with the project.

“I think that that kind of the foundation for this project is how much value each of us has, layered with all of the things that make us human. Layered with our imperfections, layered with our struggles, layered with our challenges that we all have such value,” said Barry.

The monetary compensation and the project being recognized on a national level is very encouraging for the team.

“We didn’t know if we were going to win anything or not, and the fact that we get this money, and we get to actually make a difference in our community means a lot to me and the rest of us,” said Kayla Hampton, a CHS sophomore.

Even without this money, the team still planned on doing this film festival, but now they’ve got a head start.

“Having the foundation to be able to start [the project] with some of the prize money and the recognition is really really cool,” said Jordan Smith, junior.

What’s next for the team? They want to be done filming the movies by June so that they will be able to edit over the summer and ideally have them done for teacher training in August. This will help teachers get an idea of their students and go into the year with ideas of acceptance. August is also an optimal time for showing the films at public venues that the team has looked into because the weather will still be nice.

Congratulations to this hardworking team for winning national runner up!