The sequel to an Academy-Award winning documentary about a boy from Blacksburg with Down syndrome will air at 7:30 tonight on HBO.
The first film, ?Educating Peter,? won an Oscar 11 years ago for best documentary short subject. ?Graduating Peter? will pick up with Peter Gwazdauskas? journey in sixth grade and go through his graduation from Blacksburg High School in 2001.
For the original ground-breaking film, director and producer Gerardine Wurzburg followed Gwazdauskas as he entered the third grade as one of the first students with severe disabilities to attend classes at Gilbert Linkous Elementary School.
Federal law and a process called inclusion gave disabled students the right to attend class with non-disabled students.
The documentary made strides for the disabilities rights movement and put a spotlight on Montgomery County?s inclusion program.
After the success and acclaim of 1992?s ?Educating Peter,? Wurzburg returned to Blacksburg to continue filming Peter as he grew from an adolescent to an adult.
She has filmed him for more than 10 years to make the films as true to life as possible.
In an interview on
In chronicling Peter?s life, Wurzburg caught not only day-to-day life, but also the endeavors to treat his complex medical problems and his mother?s constant battle to ensure a good future for her son.
According to HBO.com, ?Graduating Peter? includes scenes that show Peter confronting depression, loneliness and the limitations of his disability.
The film will allow viewers to see the struggles Peter faced assimilating into normal school life as well as him gaining acceptance from his peers.
The documentary captures pivotal moments in Peter?s life, such as becoming the manager of the varsity boy?s soccer team, going to the senior prom and graduating with a Certificate of Attendance.
?Graduating Peter? shows despite many trials and errors in the life of one child, the many examples of excellence in his inclusion will far outweigh any negative experiences he may have had, Judy Gwazdauskas, Peter?s mother, said to HBO.com.
Peter had some of the same experiences most high school students have, and that is what his parents really wanted for him, Wurzburg said.
More information about ?Graduating Peter? and additional show times can be found at