When Kelsey Carroll entered high school, she was a more likely candidate for the juvenile justice system than graduation. Diagnosed with ADHD and carrying the emotional scars of homelessness and substance abuse, as well as the actual scars of repeated self-mutilation, Kelsey was volatile, disruptive and, by her own admission, “not a nice person” to be around. As a freshman at Somersworth (NH) High School, she didn’t earn a single academic credit, but she did get suspended for dealing drugs.
During Kelsey’s sophomore year, a new school principal implemented dramatic reforms to improve the school’s culture and reduce the dropout rate. This school-wide overhaul gave Kelsey a chance at a different outcome.
Who Cares About Kelsey? follows Kelsey through the ups and downs of her senior year. As the film delves into Kelsey’s life, we watch her navigate the halls and classrooms of her school and the fraught terrain of family and romantic relationships. Kelsey interacts with a military father who questions her account of the past and dismisses her plans for the future. She manages her relationship with a mother trying to atone for past failures that set in motion some of Kelsey’s most destructive behaviors. She spends much of her time with a boyfriend she cherishes but whose loyalty and support for Kelsey’s newly forming independence are uncertain.
Along the way, a team of trusted adults meets with her weekly. She tells them her dreams and fears, planning a future she might never have let herself picture a few years earlier.
Who Cares About Kelsey? will make viewers reconsider the “problem kids” in their own high schools and spark new conversations about an education revolution that’s about empowering–not overpowering–our most emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth.
Benefiting: To Be Announced
Director – Dan Habib
Production Company – DH Photography LLC and Institute on Disability
Cinematographer – Dan Habib
Editor – Rose Rosenblatt and Diego Siragna
Music – Rick Baitz; Sound – Rikk Desgres
Cast – Kelsey Carroll, Kathy Francoeur, Susan Carroll, Chris Carroll, Sharon Lampros, JoAnne Malloy, Jonathan Drake.