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Teacher from San Diego nominated for Academy Award

Posted at 2:34 PM, Feb 20, 2019

A high school teacher from San Diego and her students are up for an Academy Award, KABC reports.

They’re all taboo subjects in the United States, periods, menstruation and bleeding. But a group of high school students and their teacher, Melissa Berton, are trying to change that.

Berton is originally from San Diego and graduated from Patrick Henry High School.

Now, she's a producer on “Period. End of Sentence” and an English teacher at Oakwood High School in Los Angeles.

“I think it has been a profound experience from start to finish,” Berton said.

In 2013, she advised a group of students who were selected as United Nations delegates to advocate for women and girls.

That’s when their journey to normalize menstruation began.

“Who better to sort of be the voice for that than high school young women who are in that moment,” Berton said.

Originally, the short documentary was a marketing tool for their bigger vision. A non-profit they created called Pad Project.

Their mission was to get a machine that creates biodegradable pads to a rural village in India.

“We never thought it would be an Oscar nominated film but the idea was always, if we could just make an educational film, to raise awareness about this issue, then that would be the jewel in the crown of our non-profit”

The students were in charge of fundraising and creating the non-profit as well as bringing the documentary to life.

Seven executive producers on the project are either in college or grad school and several associate producers are in high school.

They put the documentary through the film festival circuit and received award after award and an Academy Award nomination.

The students along with Berton say that their biggest achievement of all was normalizing periods for women around the world.

“I think the students have felt different responses from their classmates and have felt a little less shy about something that maybe we don't need to feel so shy about,” Berton said.