Mark DiIonno for NJ Voices shares yh story of a Weequahic high school principal who is making a difference in his students’ lives: Newark’s Weequahic High School is featured in film about gangs and the power of education
Young gang members, at heart, are still just kids.
As gang members, they may shoot, and be shot, deal and use drugs, menace corners with territory-marking violence. But in the end, the young ones, the smart ones, those still giving school a chance, are just kids. Kids who can be reached. Kids who can be convinced they have a future beyond life and death on the streets.
This is the over-riding message of hope in the new documentary “Heart of Stone,” a film about Newark’s legendary Weequahic High School, which is winning film festival awards from coast to coast.
The film follows former principal Ron Stone as he restores order and pride to Weequahic, with the help of concerned alumni. It is a marriage of the then-and-now cultures of a school that understands its proud history while fighting modern problems. Then, it was all about education. Now, it is all about education, too. But, as Stone says in the movie, “school has to be the psychologist, the parents, the police.”