By the time tomorrow night rolls around, your family will likely have had a wonderful few days together, enjoying the liturgies of the Triduum and reveling in the glory of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. It’s likely too that you might be a bit tired after having cooked special meals and having welcomed family and friends. Thankfully, I’ve got the perfect entertainment option for you that will be a fitting end to your family’s time together.
At 9 pm Eastern on Sunday, April 24, CBS will air another great Hallmark Hall of Fame special, “Beyond the Blackboard“. This film features Emily VanCamp starring as real-life teacher Stacey Bess, a Utah educator known for her tremendous work as an advocate for the education of homeless and indigent children. I had the pleasure of watching the movie screener a few weeks ago and was so moved by the film that I went looking for more information on Stacey’s work, including her book Nobody Don’t Love Nobody.
Stacey’s personal history is a tale of triumph, an account of moving from a pregnant teen who chose life and built a marriage and a strong family, pursued an education, and fashioned a career in education. The movie lovingly depicts Stacey’s landing in a clap-trap classroom for homeless children, a one-room school that had been previously neglected by an administration that either didn’t know how to or chose not to care for this at-risk population. In the movie, we experience Stacey’s fear as she ventures into this world with no support net and no budget, but with tremendous commitment and a heart of gold.
Emily VanCamp does a fantastic job of bringing Stacey’s story to life and is joined by Timothy Busfield, who plays the administrator who finally “gets” what Stacey is accomplishing with the children in her charge. But for me, the true stars of this movie were the child actors who reminded me that this is more than simply a “feel good” story and that there truly are kids who are being forgotten and left behind in school systems around our country. From start to end, I was glued to this movie. It’s the type of film that moves beyond entertainment and into motivation – you’ll find yourself prompted to look for ways in which you can help in your own community, to be a “Stacey” in your own corner of the world.
I hope you’ll enjoy watching Beyond the Blackboard with your family tomorrow, Easter Sunday at 9:00 pm Eastern on CBS. As we celebrate the glory of Christ’s resurrection and the beauty of the Gospels, stories like this one that reinforce our commitment to caring for one another — to loving as He loved us — are a blessing for our families.