Community Involvement

Global Awareness Documentary Film Screening

Each summer, The Office of Pre-College Programs partners with the Debartolo Performing Arts Center to screen a documentary dealing with a topic of global import: food sourcing, environmental protection, the industry of poverty and aid, and others. Summer Scholars and Leadership Seminars students attend the screening, and the event is open to the public. We feel that our mission to educate does not simply apply to our high school cohort; it is vital that we extend our reach to those in the local community. You can read descriptions of past films below.

2018- Bowling for Columbine

Bowling For Columbine Web

Bowling for Columbine is an American documentary film written, produced, directed, and narrated by activist filmmaker Michael Moore. The film explores what Moore suggests are the primary causes for the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and other acts of gun violence.  Moore confronts corporate Kmart with two victims of a previous high school shooting, imploring them to cease selling bullets in their stores. He also travels to Canada to investigate the much lower rate of gun violence, comparing the United States to it and other countries across the globe and questioning why gun violence in the America continues to be on the rise. Finally, Moore interviews the then President of the National Rifle Association, Charlton Heston about his views on gun violence and school shootings in the United States. Released in November 2002, Moore's film offers relevant food for thought concerning the outbreak of gun violence in schools in the United States in the 21st Century.

Click here to learn more about Bowling for Columbine.


2017 – Time to Choose


Academy Award®-Winning documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson (Inside JobNo End in Sight) turns his lens to address worldwide climate change challenges and solutions in his new film Time to Choose.

Featuring narration by award-winning actor Oscar Isaac, Time to Choose leaves audiences understanding not only what is wrong, but what can to be done to fix this global threat.

Ferguson explores the comprehensive scope of the climate change crisis and examines the power of solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an In-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our planet.

Click here to learn more about Time to Choose.
Click here to watch Time to Choose via Amazon Video.

Synopsis from

2016 – Poverty, Inc.


"I see multiple colonial governors," says Ghanaian software entrepreneur Herman Chinery-Hesse of the international development establishment in Africa. “We are held captive by the donor community.”

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry — the business of doing good has never been better. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change.

Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?

Click here to learn more about Poverty, Inc.

Synopsis from

2015 – Shakespeare Behind Bars


Shakespeare Behind Bars is a film that follows an all-male Shakespearean theater company composed of convicted felons. For one year, while incarcerated at Kentucky's Luther Luckett prison, the cast rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare's great last play, The Tempest.

The prisoners cast themselves in roles reflecting their life experiences, including the crimes for which they were convicted. As they struggle to understand the characters they are playing, they uncover startling and moving truths about themselves.

The Tempest’s underlying theme of forgiveness is at the heart of this incredible documentary. Through their creative journey, these "murderers, fugitives and thieves" reveal kindness, generosity and faith. And we are left wrestling with the notions of transformation and redemption.

Click here to learn more about Shakespeare Behind Bars.
Click here to watch Shakespeare Behind Bars via Amazon Video.

Synopsis from

O A Place At The Table 570

2014 – A Place at the Table

50 million Americans don't know where their next meal is coming from. And one in four are children. Hunger is a complex problem — and one which could be solved once and for all — if the American public finally decided to make it a priority.

A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.

Click here to learn more about A Place at the Table.

Synopsis from



Community Service




One of the pillars of the Notre Dame mission is service to others. Both Summer Scholars and Leadership Seminars students have several opportunities for community service activities, from working with local outreach organizations to volunteering in an animal shelter to fire hydrant painting. In addition, The Office of Pre-College Programs hosts two food drives to benefit several St. Joseph County food pantries. In 2017, Leadership Seminars students raised 1,153 lbs of food loaded into 42 boxes!