Bridging the Gap: The Joe Dulin Story (2011) 1h 43min · Documentary · 1 March 2011
"Bridging the Gap" is the story of a failing educational system and the life of an extremely unique man named Joseph Dulin, who has devoted his life to successfully educating kids whom under normal circumstances, would have fallen through the cracks of the urban educational system. St Martin DePorres Catholic High School was on the verge of bankruptcy after the Riots in 1967, as Dulin took on the unenviable task of transforming the faltering school into an educational success story by using his unique blend of charisma, discipline and unconditional love for his students, who amazingly achieved a 78% College enrollment in a city where the dropout rate is at 79% (in 2006). Outside of traveling for months as a Special Advisor directly to Al Gore during the 2000 election, Dulin has been featured in Time magazine, on The Phil Donahue and highlighted in countless areas of local a national press documenting his fight to educate, and be educated on equal terms, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. As a young man growing up in Evansville Indiana, Dulin stood up to the racism and the resultant anomie that faced most young Black Americans of the 50's and 60's who lived near that line of demarcation known as the Mason-Dixon. But like a prizefighter that uses his brain instead of his fists, Dulin persevered. Whether it was the inequalities of the school system or the institutional racism of the Catholic Church, Dulin never backed down when it came to fighting for equal rights for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. Before starting Roberto Clemente Student Development Center, Dulin applied his fearlessness and convictions to the Detroit Catholic Educational system by transforming St Martin Deporres into a model for not only all Black Catholic High School's, but all Catholic High Schools, irrespective of race. Directors Gary Bredow and Per Franchell followed Principal Dulin over the course of three school years at Roberto Clemente School in Ann Arbor, where Dulin has been the principal for over 30 years. The result is a gripping exploration of the fine line between success and failure of students who live in a world that is punctuated by economic strife and violence. Dulin and his staff run the school more like a family, and deal with issues one student at a time with great detail and concern. Because of the unique practices that are an everyday occurrence at "Clemente', they have met the challenge with astounding success, despite the proverbial deck that is stacked against the kids and their families. "Bridging The Gap" in an unflinching view of the realities of the American Urban educational experience and one man's diligent and successful response in navigating these students over the widening chasm of failure. - Written by Gary Bredow
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