Teahouse Conversations

On December 8th I went to meet a former tutor of mine to discuss the project.

Frankie Dunleavy had helped me skip a level of spanish over the summer and she has been a great mentor for me ever since. I couldn’t help but be impressed by her, with her academic success, involvement in education and community, fluency in a wide variety of languages and her ability for cultural understanding.

What drew me back to Frankie as a resource for this documentary was the memory of our long, in depth conversations and the very insightful responses she would give. The woman is articulate. I walked after school on a pleasantly grey and frosty day, down to the Stone Leaf Teahouse in town. While sitting in the warm loft, sipping our exotic teas we shared the stories of the past few months and I filled her in on the “What’s the Story?” program. I explained my team’s topic to her and the role that I hoped she would play in telling the story. She was very enthusiastic about the idea and shared her perspective on the cultural diversification of vermont and the need for cultural communication. She isn’t directly affiliated with ESL kids or their programs (which won’t matter since we already have a selection of contacts more closely related to that aspect) but she did do an amazing job of explaining the negative reactions that some communities have towards diversification. She explained exactly why one might see it as threatening to their community. Because we are really looking to explain multiple sides of this issue I think she will be an excellent resource to draw upon to bring more nuance to the film.

Kati Tolgyesi

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