PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Every 6th grade student in the Portland Public School system, all 700 of them, came together to explore what it's like to be 11 in other countries across the globe.
The students gathered in Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Community Center to watch the documentary, 'I am Eleven', which tells the story of the lives and thoughts of fifteen 11 year old children.
"We're hoping the students will get a perspective, a global perspective, on how children all over the world are living at 11 and also reflecting on their own lives in that time period," explained Lynn Kuzma, Dean of the University of Southern Maine's College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
"When you are an 11 year old, it is right between the time of no longer being a child and you are not a teenager yet," she added. "So it is a very, very special year in a child's life."
The event served as an unofficial kick-off of the 3rd annual Portland Children's Film Festival, which will screen films in venues throughout the city from April 2nd through the 6th.
"This particular event is really about shared viewing and arts experiences and getting kids from across the city to come together, watch something, reflect on it, and think about their own lives," said Lauri Boxer-Macomber, one of the organizers of the festival. "It is more of engaged film viewing than just going and watching a movie."