• Team Willard


Meeting Chamberlain Bauder, a seventeen-year-old teenager


Picture: Tom Struyf and Geert De Vleesschauwer on one of the football fields of the American high school South Seneca High. © Fien Leysen

South Seneca High School

Tina Bauder, history teacher, gives us a tour in the high school where she works. The broad hallways look almost identical to the ones from Hollywood movies. A man on a floor buffer passes us by. The floor shines like new. The school prepares for September.

Tina shows us the cafeteria, the classrooms, the theater hall, the gym, the football field, the second football field, the row of yellow school buses. While doing so, she tells us all about the town and its people. The poverty rates that keep going up. A sharp and stinging contrast with this beautiful school that luckily seems to have a huge budget.

Chamberlain Bauder

In Tina's history class, we are able to speak with her son. Seventeen-year-old Chamberlain Bauder gives an insight into his life and tells us what it is like to grow up in Willard. He talks about the divide between rich and poor, and how it keeps getting bigger. How politics could fix all this. He gives intelligent analyses and explanations as to how things have gotten this far and what the current problems are. And what, he thinks, should happen next.

After our talk, he takes us with him to the football field and invites us to come back the next day, to attend his football practice session.

Everything's going to be alright

That is what we are all thinking, the three of us. Geert from behind his camera, Tom who is quickly jotting down notes and questions in his book, and Fien who is sitting on the interviewer-chair. When this intelligent, good-hearted man graduates soon, and heads out into the world, with his progressive plans stemming from this not so liberal town, when he returns here, or when he finally becomes president - of which we are sure he will - then everything is going to be alright. Here. For these people. We can't wait to see it.

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