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Documentary About Puppeteer Clash to Benefit CCBC Fund

Newly created Henrietta Lacks Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance to students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math.

A screening of a movie summing up the life's work of one Turner Station icon will benefit a scholarship fund that honors the memory of another.

"Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" will have its Dundalk-area premiere at 6 p.m., March 16 at the John E. Ravekes Theater on the Dundalk campus of The Community College of Baltimore County.

The film, a documentary directed by Constance Marks, is about Turner Station native Kevin Clash and his work as the voice and personality of Elmo, one of the iconic puppets created by the late Jim Henson. Aftr the film, there will be a question-and-answer session with Clash and Elmo.

The screening, organized by the mass communications class of CCBC faculty member Mike Walsh, will benefit the Henrietta Lacks Scholarship Fund.

Lacks was living in Turner Station when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s.

Without her knowledge or permission, hospital officials harvested some of her cancer cells to use for laboratory purposes. Her cells ended up being the first ones that researchers were successfully able to grow outside of the body, and the cell line, known as HeLa, is still used today in research around the world and has been credited with making many medical advances possible.

Each semester, Walsh's class picks an organization it would like to support, and plans an event or activity to benefit that group, Walsh said.

In past years, students have supported diabetes organizations, the Maryland Zoo and skin cancer awareness.

This semester's students selected the newly created Henrietta Lacks Scholarship Fund after reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot.

The fund will help support the education of students pursuing degrees in science, technology, math or engineering.

In addition to raising either funds or awareness, the project serves as a practical experience for the communications students, Walsh said.

"In this exercise, students learn how to draft a press release, design a flier, produce video, employ marketing strategies and use social media to promote the event," Walsh said. "They're responsible for the budget and all of the planning of the event — it is a real life experience for them."

Event Details:

What: Screening of "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey"

When: 6 p.m., March 16

Where: John E. Ravekes Theater, Dundalk Campus, The Community College of Baltimore County, 7200 Sollers Point Road

Cost: $8 per ticket; available through the CCBC box office, 443-840-2787

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