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Following the Dreamers is a multimedia piece by the Washington Post on the fifth grade class at Sweet Pleasant Elementary.  In 1988, two wealthy businessmen made a promise to 59 fifth graders to pay for their college education if they graduated from high school and pursued a higher education.

The first page of the multimedia story tells you a summary of what the piece is about.  Below the summary is a video featuring pictures, video and interviews with students.

Beneath the video is an interactive, Meet the Dreamers.  Here you can learn about all 59 students from Sweet Pleasant Elementary.

There are also links to Part 2: The Reality and Part 3: The Legacy. 

I feel the Washington Post did a phenomenal job on this piece.  They took a known problem, and focused on a group of children that were receiving assistance to better themselves.

The Video worked very well because the video/pictures matched the audio you were hearing.  During narration they made a point that what was being talking about was being shown.  For example, when they are talking about being sat down and told about their college education being paid for, you see the students sitting in the auditorium as well as students hugging the businessmen.  When the narrator spoke about drugs in the area, you saw signs about “drug free zones” as well as dingy areas, to give you a true feel for the area.

The interactive feature is especially great because allows you to get to know, so to speak, the 59 students offered this wonderful opportunity.  Readers/viewers can view the students based on whether the graduated, went to college etc. and see where everyone is now.  Under their name there is also a link to read that particular student’s story, view pictures of them and see them on video.  It’s really interesting to hear specifically from each student, and really adds to the story being told.

The follow-up pieces are written stories, and focus on particular students.  You learn specific obstacles that some of these children faced and get somewhat of an idea as to how or why they ended up where they are today; which is very intriguing.

The Washington Post did a wonderful job on this story, and I think it is definitely something people need to check out.