|Cheikh Darou Seck, English teacher (Courtesy of Mr. Seck)|
Cheikh Darou Seck was born in Thies in 1964. He pursued his primary studies in Waly Diouf School in Joal, the native village of President Leopold Sedar Senghor, the father of the Senegalese nation. Mr. Seck graduated from high school in 1984 and proceeded to the university in 1985, at the English department of the Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree with distinction after 4 years. He entered the teacher training school in 1989 and obtained the certificate of proficiency a year later. The early years of his career as an English teacher were spent in a secondary school in the Southern part of our country, where he stayed for 10 years before being posted back in Dakar, at the Martin Luther King Girls School, our school, in 2000. In my opinion, this was the best thing that happened to us that year.
|Mr. Seck in his class (Courtesy of Mr Seck)|
In the beginning, I did not know Mr. Seck and, to be honest, I used to think that he was a bit "particular" as I judged him from his attire, which I found rather unique in our school. The second year he was our English teacher, and he made me love this language. He rapidly communicated to us his passion for the English language and pictures. I remember that he used a lot of pictures from newspapers, magazines or the Internet to deliver his lessons. He always tells us that pictures speak louder than words. This was before the setting up of the My Hero Club. He used to teach using role play techniques and group works, therefore, we soon became interested in his classes and even my classmates who used to hate English began to attend the English classes on a more regular basis.
|Cheikh Seck's students using a Wacom Pad to create digital art for MY HERO|
In 2004, Mr. Seck went to Eastern Europe and started telling us about The MY HERO Project upon his return. After some time he organized us into a group and we started taking part in the project. It was real fun. The good thing is we could see the result of our work on the Internet. I remember that I felt so proud when I first saw my drawing on the Internet on the MY HERO website.
After some meetings Mr. Seck began to tell us that he wanted dynamic students who were really interested in video production, art and storytelling. Then he eventually started teaching us how to conduct an interview and to behave like true professional reporters. I touched a camera for the first time. It was such an exhilarating feeling. As he says, he wants us to understand that it is possible to begin video production in junior high.
|Mr. Seck in his studio (Courtesy of Mr. Seck)|
Presently we sometimes go with him to interview people and, little by little, I have begun to develop a passion for video production. The first time I went shooting with Mr. Seck and three other classmates was when we visited AASED with Mother Mary. I learned a lot that day and I discovered things that I didn’t suspect existed in my country. It was a unique experience that helped me better understand the realities of AIDS in my own country.
Within the framework of The MY HERO Project, Mr. Seck asks us to go interview our heroes, to write stories or make films with his help. This way we are constantly looking for positive people who play very important roles in their communities or who help them better their living conditions and, to me, this is where humanity lies. Being positive. Not always looking at the negative side of the world like the usual way we see it in the news bulletins on TV, but thinking of human models with high motivation to help. People who really care to make a difference. This is something that I learned from Mr. Seck. I think that watching all of the hero films, that he never fails to comment on, has changed my vision of the world. Today the key for me is to "think and act positive." See the good in heroes and be inspired by their unique example.
|Mural created by Cheikh Seck's students|
As we began talking about art, video production and digital storytelling, we began to open up to global issues. I don’t think I could have understood it the way I do without the help of Mr. Seck.
I think that the merit of Mr. Seck lies in his strong belief that we do not need to wait till college to begin video production. He helped us understand that we can really do it if we want to. In the beginning I used to be paralyzed by fear whenever I had to conduct a role play interview. I kept telling myself that I would never succeed in having a "normal" interview. But due to Mr. Seck’s support and his patience, I overcame my fear. All the members of the group think that Mr. Seck is an extraordinary guy, always ready to help.
Despite his being awarded the Best Prize of the MY HERO 2005 Film Festival, he never boasts about it. He’s always the same: generous, kind and supportive. I admire him so much. Maty, a friend of mine, says:
"Mr. Seck is naturally positive, that’s why he is respected by students."
I think that it takes a hero to be able to see the good in people and to try to act accordingly to positively impact his community. Mr. Seck does that and more. He is my hero.