Mr. Connolly Has ALS

This project was completed in July 2017 and these resources are no longer updated.

During his 14-year tenure at Concord High School, Principal Gene Connolly was known for his non-stop energy, his love of rock & roll, and the personal connections he made with many of the school’s 1,600 students. However, in 2014, Connolly became known for something very different: the rapid loss of his ability to walk and speak due to the debilitating effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Mr. Connolly Has ALS chronicles Connolly’s final year as principal of the school and features CHS students asking Connolly about the most profound and personal aspects relating to his life with the disease.

Now streaming for free on YouTube

A film by Dan Habib.

Tool Kits

Community Engagement Toolkit (PDF)

Press Kit (PDF)

Social Media Tool Kit (PDF)


The Team

Dan Habib, Producer/Director/Cinematographer

Dan Habib

Dan Habib is the creator of the award-winning documentary films Including SamuelWho Cares About Kelsey? and many other films on disability-related topics. Habib uses his films to lead discussions about the challenges and benefits of inclusive education and related topics across the country and internationally. Including Samuel, about Habib’s son who has cerebral palsy, was broadcast nationally on public television stations in fall 2009 and was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. The film was featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Good Morning America.” It has been translated into 17 languages and is used as a teaching tool worldwide. Who Cares About Kelsey? was broadcast nationally on public television in fall 2013.

Diego Siragna, Editor

Diego Siragna

Diego Siragna is a New York City based film, commercial, and documentary editor and producer, known for Wanderer (2014), Halfway HomeWho Cares About Kelsey? (2012), Young Lakota (2012), and Ugly (2011).

Jody Becker, Story Editor

Jody Becker

Jody Becker is an award-winning documentary film, radio, and print journalist. As a writer and story editor, she collaborates with directors aiming their cameras at subjects highlighting issues ranging from public policy to health (Autistic-LikeVoices) and the arts. As an on-air reporter and producer at Chicago Public Radio for a decade, her work was frequently heard on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” and the highly acclaimed public radio business show, “Marketplace.” She's also worked as an editor on “Weekend All Things Considered,” and her stories have appeared in The New York and the, The Los Angeles TimesThe Huffington PostVariety, and other newspapers and magazines.

Samuel Habib, Story Consultant

Samual Habib

Samuel Habib, age 17, is a senior at Concord (NH) High School. He is on the school yearbook staff, the school television station, plays unified track, basketball and soccer, and he is part of the Be The Change Club, which organizes multicultural events at the school. Samuel plans to attend college to become a multi-media story teller, and he recently made a film about disability rights leader Judith Heumann that was featured in the 2016 Breaking Down Barriers Film Festival in Moscow.

Dennis Palmieri, Distribution Manager

Dennis Palmieri

Palmieri has over 20 years experience in media and communications, specializing in the intersection of media, community, and public affairs. Dennis has worked for nearly 10 years in public media, serving as Managing Director of Communications at ITVS, where he created ITVS’s groundbreaking Community Cinema® program, and OVEE®, an innovative online engagement platform for public media funded by CPB.