Degrassi Cast Builds African School in “MTV Presents: Degrassi in Kenya,” October 18
In August, cast members from the internationally-acclaimed CTV drama series, “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” traveled to Kenya with the Toronto-based organization, Free The Children, to build a much needed addition to the Motony Primary School. The team had just under two weeks to complete the project while MTV’s cameras captured the emotional and physical journey for the half-hour special, “MTV Presents: Degrassi in Kenya.”
Premiering Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. ET on MTV, “Degrassi in Kenya” follows the young stars as they build a school and in the process, learn more about the world and themselves. Scheduled to coincide with National Me to We Day on Oct. 19, the special will also air on CTV at a later date.
“It was such a unique opportunity for members of our cast to go to Kenya and build the very first REAL Degrassi school,” said Linda Schuyler, Executive Producer of Degrassi: The Next Generation. “It was amazing to see the exchange between the community and the cast members. Both groups learned invaluable lessons from the other. While the cast may have left a school behind, they took away so much more in life experience.”
MTV’s special about the Degrassi cast in Kenya is a part of a larger initiative involving Free The Children and an event that the organization is hosting called the National Me to We Day. Taking place at Toronto’s Ricoh Centre on October 19th, the National Me to We Day is bring together more than 7,500 student leaders from across Ontario to kick-off a year-long action oriented initiative that will inspire youth into action and connect them to the global community.
The event features an incredible line-up of Canadians who are making a difference in our world, including Romo Dallaire, Irshad Manji, Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielbruger (the founders of Free The Children http://www.freethechildren.com) among others. In addition, the Degrassi cast will talk about their school-building experience, show some clips of the adventure and take questions from the audience.
Filmed during the last two weeks of August, “Degrassi: The Next Generation” cast members Nina Dobrev (Mia), Marc Donato (Derek), Dalmar Abuzeid (Danny), Jamie Johnston (Peter), Jake Epstein (Craig), Charlotte Arnold (Holly J) and Raymond Ablack (Sav) worked along side Maasai Warriors and community members to help bring the new school addition to fruition. The actors helped in all facets of the construction from carrying wooden trusses and applying mud to the exterior walls to laying and leveling the floor to mixing and creating the cement blocks for the wall and attaching the tin roof. The finished school has been built to withstand the harsh African weather and to stand for at least 40 years; it will be the learning place for dozens of young girls and boys in grades two and three.
For the final touch, a “Degrassi” sign, exactly the same as seen on the wall of the school in the television program, was affixed to the outside of the new building.
“MTV Presents: Degrassi in Kenya” is a 30-minute documentary special and was created in association with the “Free The Children” organization. The special was produced in-house by MTV Productions; a division of CTV Inc. Lara Leavoy is Producer. Michael Schultz is Producer. Ben Rotterman is Executive Producer. Sam Dynes is Director of Production. Mark McInnis is Vice-President of Production. Brad Schwartz is Senior Vice President and General Manager, Youth and Music. Susanne Boyce is President, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.