K12 Student Stars in Film Promoting Autism Awareness
For a child wanting to pursue his dreams of acting, school can prove to be a challenging obstacle—not so for Julian Feder.
Julian is a sixth grader at K12 International Academy where, as a student actor, he can attend classes virtually from anywhere around the world while still connecting with other students. Online learning allows Julian to follow his dreams without sacrificing his education or socialization.
And Julian’s acting career continues to soar. He appeared in the family film Wiener Dog Nationals in 2013 and now stars in the new film, Po, about a single father raising his autistic son after the death of his wife. Julian received the “Rising Star Award” for his portrayal of the title character, and the film has been awarded “Best Feature Film” at recent film festivals across the county.
Tracy Smith, department chair for K12 International Academy, attended the film’s premiere at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Taking advantage of any opportunity to connect with students, she was so proud and excited to see Julian starring in such a profound and penetrating film as Po.
“Our student, Julian Feder, is an incredible talent! A thoughtful and kind young man, Julian is someone to watch for great things ahead!” – Tracy Smith
In April, Autism Awareness Month sheds light on the issues affecting families impacted by autism. The reality is, though, that all year ’round these families deal with the bullying, the stares, and the lack of understanding and acceptance. Po illustrates creatively and beautifully not only these struggles but, even more so, the joy and the true gift that an autistic child brings to the world around him.
The benefits of online learning for Julian began long before the release of Po when Julian lived in Asia for many years due to his father’s professional career traveling globally. Turning down world-class international schools in Singapore, the Feders chose K12 International Academy as their preferred curriculum due to the flexibility and high-quality education available from anywhere in the world. This academic relationship perfectly suited not only Julian’s global family travels but also his pursuit of becoming an actor.
“We needed a school that could ‘travel with us.’ We also highly value creativity, and we felt that K12 allowed us to offer a more creative environment than a traditional school. We considered a number of different homeschooling options but felt K12 had the strongest and most supportive curriculum.” –Rachel Feder, Julian’s mom
As an exceptionally talented student and skilled actor, Julian is excelling both professionally and academically, all while bringing awareness to life with autism in the inspirational story of Po. This movie will change lives and impact hearts as eyes are open to the passion and radiant life that autistic children bring to all of us as parents, educators, friends, and human beings.
Letise Dennis is a writer for Learning Liftoff. She has enjoyed writing since childhood, but has spent her most recent professional years writing website content and articles relating to her passion of fitness and nutrition. Having grown up in the south, she attended George Mason University and earned a degree in Communication, with a focus on interpersonal and business communication. After graduation, she began her career at a national nonprofit organization and has been living in Northern Virginia since. When not writing for Learning Liftoff, she spends her time with her husband and three kids enjoying sports and the outdoors.
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