“PELL”, a documentary about Senator Claiborne Pell, will be shown tonight, August 13th, on Rhode Island PBS at 8pm.
“PELL” takes you from the mansions of Newport to the dramatic behind the scenes legislative conference in 1972 to recount how a wealthy, unassuming Senator from Rhode Island reached across party lines and was able to get the House and Senate members to vote for the passage of the Pell Grant legislation. From his early days in the Coast Guard, Senator Claiborne Pell sought to help his fellow seamen get access to the kind of college education that he received at Princeton. “PELL” details his fervent quest to bring the Pell Grants – financial aid for each and every student – to fruition.
“PELL” showcases personal stories of Pell Grant recipients including Jean Paul Valencia, the first in his family to go to college as he walks through the gates of Harvard; community college student advocates addressing lawmakers on Capital Hill; icon recipients including Viola Davis and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar –as well as former NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin, who talks about STEM education and its importance for future generations.
“PELL” takes you through the relevant issues of education today within the realm of politics, where players weigh in heavily on government’s current mandate. And with the urgency of the student loan debt crisis, the “PELL” documentary could not come at a better time, as it shines the light on government’s responsibility to aid in the education of those who seek it.
Quoting Senator Claiborne Pell himself:
“This is very important legislation, for it’s through this Act that the dream of access, and opportunity for college education becomes a reality. It’s in this Act that we say a lack of financial wealth should not, and will not, stand in the way of a person who has the talent, the desire and the drive to reach out for a college education.’
Produced by Elyse Katz. Directed by Steven Feinberg.