High School Students Make Impact

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EAST STROUDSBURG -- Some students in the Poconos are part of a documentary about raising worldwide awareness for women's rights.

The students go to East Stroudsburg High School South and are part of an after school group called UN Aspire South.

Their mission is to raise awareness of humanitarian issues and raise money for people in need.

Their adviser is Michael Healey who started the group three years ago.

"Wonderful. They are irreplaceable. This is the finest group of young people I have ever worked with," said Healey, also a Social Studies teacher at the school.

In fact, the group was chosen to be part of a documentary called "Half the Sky" which airs on PBS October 1 and 2.

The group first read the book which is about the oppression of women in several countries.

Healey noticed the book's impact on his group and contacted the authors, who responded with an offer he couldn't refuse. Healey's class was going to be in the documentary based on the book.

"I literally dropped the computer and I couldn't believe what I read. I thought it was spam or a prank email," said Healey.

The authors of the book came to the school early this year to film and interviewed the students about what inspired them about the book "Half the Sky".

Senior Adriana Torres says her mother left Ecuador when she was young to give her children opportunity.

"Me and my sister are the first ones to go to college. My sister goes to Wilkes. That's a big deal because now we can make stuff happen that she couldn't. It's happy and it's sad, but it's also a new beginning for our generation," said Torres, a senior at East Stroudsburg South.

Sean McFarland has a little sister and says the book made him think what life is like for girls in some other parts of the world.

"It made me feel really defensive for these girls because they don't have anyone and my sister was fortunate to have a life over here where it's more safe.  So it pushed me to think, 'wow, I need to go out there and do whatever I can to try to help these women'," said McFarland, a senior at East Stroudsburg South.

The documentary "Half the Sky" is available all week online.