29 YEARS
Bong, Sarah, and the King


A documentary by John Anglim,
and Academy Award® Winner Susan Hannah Hadary

In the 1980’s, with schools continuing to deny access to children with disabilities despite PL 94-142 which guaranteed this right, mothers challenged the system by enrolling their children in mainstream schools. Filmed over the course of nearly three decades, “29 Years” chronicles the lives of Bong, Sarah and Dan, who were unknowingly among the young pioneers opening the door to mainstream education. Producers John Anglim and Susan Hadary, using archival and new footage create a timeline from elementary school to current day adult life, presenting life portraits of three very unique individuals, who while acknowledging their disability as part of who they are, embrace and live the mainstream life of friends, relationships, careers and happiness.

Producers: Susan Hannah Hadary and John Anglim
Director, Cinematography, and Editing: John Anglim
Original Music Score: Michael Bacon
Executive Producers: Melvin Sharoky, MD and Alexias Sharoky
Major Funding: Sharoky Family Foundation
Contact: Heather Filtz e: hfiltz@som.umaryland.edu p: 410 706 5497


Background:

In 1975, Congress passed Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act), which supported the education of children with physical disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Prior to this time, most children with physical disabilities were educated in special schools; this law was written to open the door for mainstream education. Despite the law, school systems were often hesitant to make the necessary accommodations and principals and teachers were not accepting of the mainstream philosophy. In 1984, Susan Hadary, a faculty member of the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, consulting with faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy, obtained funding from the US Department of Education to produce video profiles of children with disabilities who were being educated in the mainstream to demonstrate to educators that these children could easily be included in their classrooms. Subsequent follow ups provided years of documentations and numerous awards including a Peabody and an OSCAR®. To complete the life portraits revealing the impact of the law, producers Susan Hadary and John Anglim contacted Bong, Sarah, and Dan (the King) to film their adult lives.


Bong credits his success in life to the determination he got from his mom. He also remembers Mrs. Rideout, his third grade teacher, who welcomed him into her mainstream classroom and held him to the same high expectations as all of the students. Bong graduated from high school in 1995. Since then he has taken courses at community colleges and on-line to pursue his Bachelor's degree in Information Technology, which he plans on obtaining in the near future. He has worked in tech support and as a customer service representative and trainer for a telecommunication company. His son Tavion was born in 1998 and he has been very active in his life. Bong married the mother of his child in 2001 and separated from her in 2007. He re-married in 2013 and has a new life with Natima.

Sarah graduated from high school in 1992 and went to Salisbury State in Maryland for her undergraduate degree, graduating in 1996. She then attended the graduate program at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and received a degree in Library Science. Her first job as a librarian was at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. She subsequently worked as a news librarian for the Baltimore Sun for six years and then as a research librarian for an economic consulting firm. She now works for the federal government. Since 2011 she has been enjoying life with Michael; their world is filled with love, laughter, adventure, and travel plus a shared love for baseball and other sports.

Dan Keplinger, born with Cerebral Palsy, attended a school for children with disabilities for the first 14 years of his life. Determined to attend a mainstream school, Dan along with his mother, fought multiple battles until he was finally admitted to a mainstream high school. Each transition presented unique challenges presented by school systems, administrators and faculty who were resistant to change. When Dan discovers art in high school a new world of communication opens for him. Today, Dan is a successful artist and has exhibited his work throughout the world. Dan dedicates his life to art and advocacy and is currently an artist in residence at Towson University, where he received his B.A. and Masters in Fine Arts.


Medschool Maryland Productions © 2014