For nearly 20 years, A Better Chance of Westport has provided educational opportunities to academically gifted, highly motivated young men of color.
Dozens of scholars from across the country have thrived at Staples — in the classroom, and outside.
Take Daniel Burgin.
Though not part of Glendarcy House this year due to COVID, the Brooklyn native jumped into Staples life starting early in his freshman year. He managed the football and boys lacrosse teams, and was a production assistant with Staples Players.
As a sophomore he took photos for football, girls basketball and indoor track. He played volleyball, and followed his interests in film and martial arts.
A Narrative Film course changed his career plans. Daniel had always dreamed of being an FBI agent, or working in law enforcement. But that Staples class opened a whole new world: movie-making.
He shot a music video in Westport. Then he made a short film. “It was not great,” he admits. “But it was definitely a learning experience.”
He expanded his sports photography into videography: football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, softball and water polo.
Then COVID struck. The ABC scholars went home. For months, school was online.
Daniel used the time to bring another interest — fashion — to a new level. He’s started a clothing line.
Cinema Pancakes launched Monday. It’s another way to expand his creative reach — and raise money for his film projects.
Daniel is selling pullovers, sweatshirts, hoodies, bucket hats, beanies, stickers and more.
In the works: customizable sports jerseys and pants.
Daniel designed all the clothing. Many ideas came while walking around Westport. “It looks good, feels good, and it’s what people enjoy,” he says.
He found a manufacturer, created mockups, and is marketing the site himself. The initial response has been great, he says.
Though Daniel is not at Staples this year, he remains very connected to this town.
“Westport has become home for me,” he says. “I’ve created a life there. It’s hard to understand what it’s like being an ABC student, having an experience away from home.
“The community is so generous, providing ABC the chance for a great education, and making beautiful memories, at Staples and around town.
“I am grateful to Westport. I wouldn’t have started what I’ve done if I hadn’t been there.”