Recent Graduate Reflects on re:imagine/COMMUNITY Impact & Experience

Dre and Program Director, Julie.

Dre and Program Director, Julie.

Over the course of this school year, we’ll feature interviews with exceptional youth involved in our programs. This past week we interviewed recent North Atlanta High School graduate, Dreshona Mapps-Whitmore (aka Dre), who was instrumental in launching the pilot of our in-school program, re:imagine/COMMUNITY. This 10-week curriculum equips youth with skills for a career in the film industry and uses film to positively impact the community.

As a work-based learning senior, Dre led a crew of North Atlanta Warriors through the curriculum to produce a video for their non-profit client, youthSpark. The video, #TellYourTruth helped raise awareness about sex trafficking in Atlanta.

Dre completed the Audio-Visual Technology Career Pathway and just started her first semester at Oglethorpe University! Dre is on the University’s lacrosse team and plans to join a video or directing club on-campus. During this interview Dre shares her experience as a leader in re:imagine/COMMUNITY, which will come to Grady High School this fall and to other schools in 2017!

What inspired you to get involved with re:imagine/COMMUNITY?
To me it seemed like a new adventure and opportunity to learn and grow in my skill set and experience, also my teacher Mr. Andre Regan introduced it to me.

What was it like as a senior leading a crew of lower classmen through this curriculum?
It was a great experience because it taught me how to be a leader and take my knowledge about film and share it with the students that will one day be in my position. I had so much fun leading them because it wasn’t just me putting in the work and effort but it was all of us working together for a great end result.

What did you learn about yourself through the re:imagine/COMMUNITY program?
I learned that I was able to stay organized and meet the deadlines set forth by the client to complete the project. I was able to rely on my crew to go out and get shots without me looking over their shoulders.

What was your favorite part of the program?
My favorite part of the program was editing the final piece because I got to make our vision come to life.

What was the most challenging part of the program for you? I think the most challenging part was making sure we met our deadlines, but we got it done.

How do you think your video impacted the community? I think that our video truly opened the eyes of some people that wasn't aware of the fact that boys can be trafficked just as easily as girls can.

What are a few skills you learned during the program?
I didn’t realize the importance of pre-production before this program. I learned a lot about storyboarding and how it’s used to actually plan out shots while filming and I learn screenwriting.

Any advice for students in the program this year?
My advice is to stay organized and make your deadlines because one day you will have real clients and they will expect you to have things done but the deadline and the same thing applies in college.

Why do you think the re:imagine/COMMUNITY program is important?
This program is so important because it creates opportunities for students to use their skills and training in real life situations and gain experience in the film business. Also this program is so much fun to do, just because it allows you and your classmates to bond and create a masterpiece for a great cause.

Thank you so much Dre, we are so proud of you & thankful for your leadership in the re:imagine/COMMUNITY pilot! To learn more about the re:imagine/COMMUNITY program please contact Program Director, Julie Foster-Straw (

Dre (far right) pictured with other North Atlanta students   

Dre (far right) pictured with other North Atlanta students