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South Hadley, Mass. - March 10, 2021 - Mount Holyoke College is excited to announced that on April 6, 2021, the Department of Athletics will host a virtual panel with Mary Mazzio, Class of 1983, an award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower). The event will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m. ET. This panel will also be hosted on National Student-Athlete Day, as we continue to recognize and celebrate the hard-working Mount Holyoke College student-athletes through these programming efforts.
The basis of the panel will be to facilitate discussion about the film, "A Most Beautiful Thing", which was produced by Mazzio and chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country (made up of young men, many of whom were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago), all coming together to row in the same boat. Along with Mazzio, also featured on the panel will be the protagonist in the film, Arshay Cooper, as well as some current student-athletes on the Mount Holyoke College rowing team.
For viewing prior to April 6, the film can be accessed through multiple platforms including Peacock, Amazon Prime, Google Play Movies & TV and YouTube. Student-athletes and department members will receive a private link for the film via email during the March 13-17 break.
"Finding the courage to share emotions openly and providing space for each individual to speak their truth is a challenge we face continuously," said head Mount Holyoke College rowing coach, Seth Hussey. "That's one of the reasons why I'm so excited Mount Holyoke has committed to bringing "A Most Beautiful Thing" to the campus community. I see the film and panel discussion as an ideal jumping off point for us to consider what it means to truly embrace our teammates for who they are and to celebrate the perspective that diversity affords. I remain ever grateful that Mount Holyoke sees the value in the real world application of the lessons learned through sport and I can't wait to see how this programming will positively impact our team and department."
Nominated for a Critics' Choice Award, an NAACP Image Award, and nominated for Best Documentary by the International Press Academy, "A Most Beautiful Thing" was called "amazing" by Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times; "a movie we all need right now" by Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter; "extraordinary" by film critic Wade Major; an "absolute must watch" by Deadspin, and "one of the best films this decade" by ChicagoNow (and garnering a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating). Narrated by the Academy Award/Grammy-winning artist, Common; executive produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder; and directed by award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower) Mary Mazzio, the film is an amazing story and is based on the memoir by Arshay Cooper.
"There's no real surprise in saying that rowing has traditionally been a sport most available to athletes from the privileged upper class. However, that's not my background and it's not representative of the team I coach at Mount Holyoke," added Hussey. "We take great pride in providing the opportunity, access and support for student-athletes of all backgrounds to come in and contribute to our program. I believe that there is great strength in the balance that diversity provides, a give and take, a sharing of lived experiences and multiple perspectives, that catalyzes growth and strengthens our resolve as we pursue excellence together as a team. Rowing, at its best, becomes the commonality that binds us together."