It’s the beginning of the 2020 school year, and the senior class of Oakland (California) High School is ready to roll. But who could have predicted the Coronavirus? Who could have predicted George Floyd?
One’s first impression of the class of 2020, as seen in Peter Nick’s Homeroom, is of a (mostly minority) group of teens, more focused on their hairstyles and phones than on what’s going on in class (there’s no actual homeroom shown, by the way). Soon, though, they unite around a cause: remove cops from the school. They demonstrate at rallies and school board meetings.
Then comes Covid, and all in-person classes are halted. School continues online, as does organizing for the anti-cop rallies. Soon, though, the kids find another cause: the murder of George Floyd.
Oakland High School’s class of 2020 is full of intensity and passion, as well as organizing ability. Outstanding in the latter is senior Denison Garibo, a chubby, mustachioed teen (facial hair is big with the senior class boys) who knows how to work a phone and a rally. A few other kids stand out. In addition to politics, they talk about college—many express the intention of attending—but their actual high school classes never get a mention. They’re bright and they’re motivated; but what are they actually getting out of Oakland High School?
Homeroom was directed by Peter Nicks, who also directed the documentaries The Waiting Room, set in an Oakland hospital, and The Force, about Oakland’s police department. Sean Harvey, Kristina Motwani, and Peter Nicks were the writers.