A new teacher in the urban Southwest began her first assignment in a sixth-grade classroom mired in conflict and sometimes chaos. She was struck with the poverty of the neighborhood and shocked at the risky street life that beckoned the kids at night. She recognized the challenges. She had been there before in her own childhood.
This teacher vowed these kids could have better. Although her task would become daunting, she persevered. She faced criticism, setbacks, road blocks and sometimes danger, but she stubbornly kept one foot going forward. When churches and the general community began to support the effort, success was realized. When she was transferred to a nearby Indian reservation, she did the same for those children as well.
Now five decades later, most of the kids are productive and are speaking about those days. They proclaim no one can take away the joyous times they spent basking in God’s love on a sixteen-year adventure with this teacher. You will laugh and cry as they recount their journey. Although a true roller coaster of ups and downs, in the end, this is a feel-good, uplifting story.
“Elementary Prayers” is a powerful and compelling story. It’s a look at a teacher, Sue Hooser, and the contributions she made to kids living in poverty as she offered them love and Jesus. She took them on interesting field trips, too. Through re-enactments, we see the difficulties she encountered, including jealousy from another teacher, and the challenges in funding the program, which became known as Suspreno. Yet a few adults, kids in her class at the time, now give their heartfelt thanks for the powerful impact and influence she imprinted on their lives. These people include Daniel Valdespino, who says she was very creative; Lt. Susana Corona of the US Air Force, who fondly remembers her and what she did for the kids in poverty; and last but not least, Donnell Bryant, who says with tears that Mrs. Hooser was a mother to him. She was told that sometime after she started the program for kids, youth-related crimes dropped in number.
This lady still hears from her former students to this day, although much of this took place in the ’70s. The phones, blackboard, clothes and hairstyles are all appropriate for this time period, adding to the realism of the re-enactments. When Mrs. Hooser was hospitalized with emergency surgery and had a close call, she was flooded with cards and “get well” wishes. She says modern technology helps her stay in touch with those whom she taught and loved. The bloopers at the end are funny. We are happy to present this wonderful documentary our “Faith-Friendly” Seal for all ages. The kids sing about Jesus being the way, the one way. This film will inspire people everywhere and remind them that they can face their challenges.