Haley Spates, who teaches music at both Mt Laurel and Shelby Elementary Schools, recently got the opportunity of a lifetime when she attended the premiere of the movie “Woodlawn” and saw herself on the big screen.
Spates has a role in the movie singing the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Spates attended the premiere, held Monday, October 5 at the Bruin Theater in Los Angeles, with her daughter, Daley, and boyfriend, Paul David Houston.
“We were able to walk the red carpet and also view the movie with the other actors and actress there as well as the directors and producers,” Spates said. “The movie is amazing and is very inspirational. It is rated PG and is a family movie, so our students will be able to go and see it.”
“Woodlawn”, which will be in theaters October 16, is based on the true story of Tony Nathan, who is portrayed in the movie by Shelby County native and former Alabama football player Caleb Castille. The movie tells the story of Nathan, a gifted high school football player who landed in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joined fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The inspirational new film is based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham.
One of the focal points of the film is a legendary high school football game between Woodlawn and their rival Banks High School. That game, held at Legion Field on November 8, 1974, drew over 40,000 fans and still holds the attendance record for the largest crowd at a high school football game in the state of Alabama. Spates is featured singing the national anthem during this key moment of the movie.
“I am so thankful for the experience and the chance to represent Mt Laurel Elementary and Shelby County Schools at this event,” Spates said.
While in Los Angeles, Spates also visited the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Herb Alpert School of Music to learn more about their musical outreach programs, which benefit at-risk students and others in the community who cannot afford music lessons. Spates plans to share the information she learned during the visits to UCLA with other music teachers in the state through professional development opportunities.