For the City Times
A new documentary on P.J. Jacobs Jr. High is in the works.
New York video content producer and Stevens Point native Terry Kawles has begun work on the documentary, which will cover the history, architecture and people of P.J. Jacobs High School.
The documentary, now in pre-production, is scheduled to premiere in the late fall of 2016.
The documentary will explore the New Deal Era history of how the school was funded, designed and constructed.
The school’s Great Depression background will combine with architectural insights and a personal on-camera interview from the last-surviving member of the school’s construction crew, as well as former students and teachers sharing their memories.
“So many aspects of P.J. Jacobs’ history are unique,” said Kawles, who will serve as the documentary’s producer and director. “From its Art Deco design and the exquisite attention to architectural detail, to being a byproduct of the Great Depression’s WPA and PWA programs. We hope to entertain, and maybe even surprise folks with parts of the story they didn’t know.”
P.J. Jacobs High School – now a junior high school, had its formal dedication on June 1, 1938, and served as the community’s high school until SPASH opened in January 1972.
“We are excited about the project and grateful to Mr. Kawles for spearheading it,” said Meg Erler, school board president. “Countless graduates have walked through the halls and gone on to make our community great.”
The production will be partially funded via a fund-raising campaign through the Kickstarter® crowding funding platform.
Kawles said he believes it’s important the community feels involved in creating the production.
“Even though I’ve been part of several productions and know how to produce content economically, it still takes additional funds to travel to tell these stories, and the fees for historical footage about the WPA and Great Depression can get ‘pricey’,” said Kawles. “Folks can contribute as little as $5, and as a thank you we give them some really cool rewards for helping make this project happen.”
The documentary’s Kickstarter® campaign seeks to raise $2,500 over the next 30 days.
Kawles was born and raised in the Stevens Point area, moving to New York City in 1983 to work in the music and entertainment industry as a professional musician, and then as a music and video content producer and entertainment attorney.
Kawles also currently serves on the Fox on Main’s Advisory Board.
For more information go to the P.J. Jacobs High School Documentary Facebook page here. The project’s Kickstarter® page can be found here.