Director Statement
From: Kimberly Calkins

The 922 documentary film project was one of those wonderful accidents my husband, Dave, and I stumbled into.

My husband and I were location scouting elementary schools on one crisp autumn day in early October 2011 in rural Northeastern Ohio for a screenplay we wanted to produce beginning in the summer of 2012.

Teri Edwards, Mayor of a small, impoverished area not far from where I was raised, arranged a meeting with the Claymont City School District Superintendent, Ryan Delany, so we could look at some schools.

I chose this community because it's close to our studio in Northeastern, Ohio and because the area is, and always has been, such an impoverished area. But the district still has some terrific historic old schools that are still being used. And I wanted an old school. Teri was happy to accommodate our request, partly because she's my friend and partly because she's always looking to bring more diverse and interesting things to the community she serves.

We arrived at historic Park Elementary first and investigated Kelli Page's kindergarten classroom and decided it was perfect for our needs. What luck, we thought. We visited with Mr. Delaney about our June/July 2012 shooting schedule and collectively agreed it would be perfect since the students would be on summer vacation.

As we were leaving the building Principal Richard Page stepped into the hallway and we were introduced. Mr. Page invited us into his office. We accepted, being the polite people we are. We told him a little about our film and he began talking more about his school. I "thought" I knew quite a lot about the schools in the Claymont District. After all, I was raised and graduated high school only 20 minutes from this area. 922 (the local phone exchange), as it's always been referred, is where all the "bad" kids live. It's where many kids never graduate. In the 60's and 70's, if any of us girls had even an inkling of liking a boy from 922, our parents would lock us up in our basement until we got over it.


Mr. Page began citing some of the district's demographics to us. We knew the state of affairs in this area. We weren't surprised that over 60% of the kids come from single-parent households, 63% of the students receive free and reduced meals or that kids with disabilities number over 30%. But when Mr. Page told us that three of the schools have 100% parent participation, that the children are performing at 98% academically, and that many of the schools are Blue Ribbon Schools, Schools of Promise and Schools of Distinction, we fell out of our chairs.

What little I knew about education, I did know that one doesn't expect a 98 performance index score from the demographics Mr. Page was citing. We realized that while we walked into this school with our own story, we were leaving with another story and it wasn't ours.

When my husband and I returned home, I called upon some people I knew who had been involved in education all their lives. I wanted to know if they were as wowed as I was or if I was simply easily wowable. After two days of doing research two of my friends called me back and said, "Kim, you've stumbled into a 'golden story' here." Both woman I called upon agreed that something wonderful had happened in the Claymont City School District, and that the changes in the District had begun about 5 years prior.

It was then that I began my inquiries which resulted in gaining permission from the school board to begin filming. We entered into this project totally blind, trusting that the story of 922 would emerge.

What we discovered moved our crew to tears each and every time we filmed. The superintendent, the staff, the principals, the teachers and the students of this district taught us all about passion, about caring, about responsibility and perseverance against all odds. They shared with us their 'no excuses" mantra, of sorts.

They taught us that 922 waits for nothing.

Somehow with the limited funds they receive, and despite the low socio-economic area, the Claymont District excels.

922 waits for no one!