The Tivoli Theatre was packed with viewers for a locally filmed documentary of The Howard School tonight.
The movie, "Build Me a World: The Story of Howard School," was created by Fancy Rhino through a MakeWork grant. The story followed several Howard seniors through the last school year as they moved toward graduation and parts of the filming was done by students that participated in the movie.
The audience, which full of Howard students, local boosters and civic and nonprofit leaders, gave the film a standing ovation.
Alexis Walton, who stared in the movie and plans to attend Tennessee State University this fall, said she has been thrilled by the response the film has received.
"I'm just speechless," she said after seeing it for the first time at the premier. "It's overwhelming, seeing where I was at the beginning of last school year."
Howard Principal Paul Smith said he hopes the film will draw attention to the need at Howard and raise finally and moral support for students. Last year, the school was part of the state's achievement school district and was named a failing school because of its poor graduation rate.
The school is now in good standing, Smith proudly announced after the viewing.
But there is still more work to be done, he said.
"There are other kids that don't know how to dream," he told the crowd. "We have to dream for them until they can dream for themselves."
Fancy Rhino is hosting a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. to discuss future improvements to the school and the event is open to the public.
For more information, read Saturday's Times Free Press.