Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter WOWS Audience at the Rose Bowl

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Most people are not aware that Rosalynn Carter`s influence across the globe has positively affected the lives of millions, so high school students at Saint Genevieve in Panorama City, CA took it upon themselves to tell her story. Their documentary, Dear Rosalynn, premiered at the Rose Bowl on Friday, February 2, 2018, and Rosalynn Carter, escorted by her husband, Jimmy, were their special guests.

Elmer Banci, in kindergarten, helped welcome the Carter's. Here he is shaking their hands.

It was a superlative experience for those fortunate to attend. The combination of being in the presence of an eminent former first couple alongside a California National School of Character produced an event many described as life-changing.

St. Genevieve principal, Dan Horn, has had a friendship with the Carter's for the last 3 decades. When students asked recently how the friendship began, he told them that when he was only 24 years old, he wrote to Mrs. Carter asking to meet her. He then challenged his students to learn more about the woman he considers to be a living saint. "The more we learned about her, the more our hearts grew, and we realized her story needed to be shared," said Sean See, St. Genevieve alumnus. It was See who eventually reviewed hundreds of hours of interviews and footage, all done by students, and made the final cut of Dear Rosalynn.

"It was learning about the depth of her humanitarian efforts that were truly inspirational. Her tireless work for Equal Rights, the creation of the nonprofit The Carter Center, whose mission is to promote human rights the alleviation of human suffering. Rosalynn’s passionate work in eliminating the stigma of mental health, the couples work with Habitat for Humanity that put the organization on the world’s stage and the creation of the Rosalynn Carter’s Institute for Caregivers, to name a few," said Heidi Johnson, Executive Director of the Catholic Association of Student Councils.

English teacher, Kara Ukolowicz, was proud that St. Genevieve was playing a big role in the current women's movement. "Rosalynn's story is a powerful narrative about how one woman can change the world for generations. Her legacy is clearly connected to the inspiring change we are seeing for woman across this country right now. As women continue to step out of the shadows to speak their truths, it seems critical that we tell Rosalynn's story: a story of both strength and compassion."

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Monica Santiago
St. Genevieve High School
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