NSHSS Ambassador Brook Peters, currently a junior at Gramercy Arts High School in New York, NY, experienced 9/11 as a kindergartner on his second day of school. Affected by the shocking tragedy that swept the global community, he began brainstorming methods to assist himself and others in coping with anxieties following the traumatizing event. Brook began working on a documentary with little resources in the 5th grade, which would later become the most attended film at The TriBeCa Film Family Festival premiere in 2011. The idea to create the film was birthed from Brook’s desire to deviate from his typical work in animation coupled with his dire need to alleviate himself and others of the emotional distress associated with living through arguable the most devastating attack to occur on U.S. soil. His documentary, “The Second Day,” reveals the unheard stories of students and educators in NYC the day of 9/11.
As a young filmmaker attempting to produce a unifying medium to help fellow 9/11 victims cope with their experiences, Brook encountered endless challenges such as a lack of technological equipment, balancing his academics and extracurricular activities, continuous correspondence with interviewees, and travel expenses. After three years of arduous work, Brook submitted his film to The TriBeCa Film Festival, a festival dedicated to revitalizing the NYC downtown community post-9/11.
Since the festival aired the film to an audience of 900, Brook has become an international public speaker. He has spoken at NYU, as well as libraries, museums, and other community events, such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters Campaign Fundraiser and the Alumni Event at Carnegie Hall. ABC World News dubbed Brook as their “Person of the Week” following the premier of the film as well. “The Second Day” has aired on WNET, PBS, and several prime time networks in over 21 countries. It has also been incorporated into multiple 9/11 educational curriculums.
Brook’s most recent project, released in 2013, is a short film trilogy titled “Resilience for Veterans”.
The trilogy raises awareness of veterans’ challenges following military duty as well as services available to both veterans and their families to ease conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Brook plans to pursue a career in the film industry, but he also aspires to become EMT certified and major in Economics. His passion for helping other is exemplified through his volunteer work with the Red Cross and YMCA in organizing blood drives in addition to his service as an Ambassador to the World Trade Center Pediatric Outreach. He finds volunteerism and advocating for the use of media in educational environments to be enjoyable and therapeutic.