For the Documentary Project, we were tasked with the idea of portraying the story of an interesting person, group, place, idea or issue and finding contemporary research sources to develop a perspective on the subject and determine their significance in the community. In English, we wrote a book about our subject which in my case was a profile documentary on my grandfather. In Design, we used created graphic elements and overall style of our book. In Digital Media, we created a commercial on our subject, which gives the audience an overall idea of what the documentary is about. We also coded a website to display all of the work we have done in the unit.

I did my documentary project on my grandfather, Robert Matthews. When he was in college, he contracted bulbar polio. The polio paralyzed his pharynx (vocal cords) and left lasting damage on his neck muscles, leaving them weak. I chose to write it about my grandfather because I realized how little I knew about his life and what an incredible story he has to share. I can only hope that through this project I did his story justice.

Here's a screenshot of how I made my IntroVideo:

Screenshot of IntroVid

Going into this project, I heard multiple times from the seniors and from the teachers that this would be the hardest body of work that we would produce during our time here at Freestyle - but also the most rewarding. I didn't initially believe that this would be a hard project. I was doing it on my grandfather, it was a topic I was interested in and wanted to know more about, I didn't think there was much to worry about. However, now I realize how much time and effort really goes into this project. I believe that everyone wants their final products - their film, book, commercial, animation, etc. - to turn out well and be the best they can be. I want that even more so because I really do want to make sure I do all I can to accurately portray my grandfather's story and experience. That being said, I wish I had managed my time a little bit better in order to ensure I could get everything I wanted to done. I am proud of everything I've created for this project. Like the Freestyle teachers said, it's the hardest project but the most rewarding. I definitely agree that this has been the most rewarding project that I've done so far here at Freestyle. I'm very excited to see how the book looks once printed and to see it all in person.


thumbanil link to book production

In my book, it's seperated into the three main portions of Robert's journey: his diagnosis, family life and his life now. It starts by giving a little bit of bacground about polio, what it is, why it was an issue at the time, etc. Then goes through the progression of his life and how polio has affected him since his initial diagnosis to today.

Overall, I'm really proud of my book. Going into it, many people said that recieving your book would the most gratifying feeling you'd ever have at Freestyle. After recieving it, I can attest to that and say it's true. It's really cool to see something that you spent months working on finally in person and as something you can also show other people. When my grandparents saw the book, my grandma started to cry and my grandfather felt a little overwhelmed to see his face blown up on the cover of a book. But they both really enjoyed looking at the final product and were impressed.


  • Robert Matthews
  • Charlene Matthews
  • Dr. Matthews returns
  • It's been a while!
  • Robert Matthews
  • In front of their home
  • Dr. and Mrs. Matthews
  • Trache
  • With their daughter Karen Ecklund
  • Reminiscing
  • Karen Ecklund
  • Father and Daughter
  • A family shot
  • With their daughter Karen
  • With their daughter Karen
  • With their daughter Karen
Robert Matthews1 Charlene Matthews2 Dr. Matthews returns3 It's been a while!4 Robert Matthews5 In front of their home6 Dr. and Mrs. Matthews7 Trache8 With their daughter Karen Ecklund9 Reminiscing10 Karen Ecklund11 Father and Daughter12 A family shot13 With their daughter Karen14 With their daughter Karen15 With their daughter Karen16


These are my three interviewees who I talked to for my documentary project: (from left to right) Robert Matthews, Charlene Matthews and Karen Ecklund. They all gave me valuable insights into Robert's life and how polio has affected him and how it has shaped him into who he is today. I was also able to gain insight into how Charlene and Karen were affected by polio indirectly through Robert's experience.

Robert Matthews
Robert Matthews

Robert Matthews was my main interviewee as the documentary was about his life. He's a retired opthamologist who now enjoys spending his days with his family whenever he can and is learning Spanish and taking a course in American Law. He is also in the midst of writing an autobiography to share more stories about his life in the future.

Charlene Matthews
Charlene Matthews

Charlene Matthews is the wife of Robert Matthews and is a retired dental hygienist. She now enjoys spending her time baking, walking in the morning with her friends and being with her family whenever she can. She is also learning Spanish with Robert and is also working on learning how to play the guitar.

Karen Ecklund
Karen Ecklund

Karen Ecklund is the daughter of Robert and Charlene Matthews. She works at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) as a Nurse Case Manager. She is married and has three children: Kaitlyn (17), Kaleb (14) and Keyara (10). She enjoys spending her time being with her family, helping her patients and going to the beach.