Paul Ellsworth Keith—"PK" to his friends—thanked his friends in his third grade class at for dealing with his occasional outbursts, his sometimes erratic behavior, and still being a friend.
P.K.'s mother, Mollie Keith, brought in certificates to the Cahuenga Pass school Wednesday—and pizza—to his third grade class for helping her 9-year-old son make it into fourth grade. Valley View has one of the highest special needs populations—at 14 percent—in the entire San Fernando Valley PTA district in any public school.
P.K. has been helped not only by the teachers and students (and his assigned helper Erik Fujiwara), but also by two programs in Sherman Oaks, Exceptional Minds (www.exceptionalminds.org) and the Media Enrichment Academy (www.Mediaenrichmentacademy.com) which has helped nurture his artistic ability and his drive to be an animator (see his demo reel that he played for his class above.)
The Exceptional Minds group worked on the end credits for the just-released movie , which was shot in Studio City, not far from where P.K. lives.
P.K.'s friends didn't know that he was afraid of certain tastes, doesn't like loud noises or crowds, and although he loves movies, has never seen one in a movie theater. Mollie, who is an advisor and on the board of autism causes, said she uses this forum to help educate P.K.'s fellow students, and provide some understanding.
For the premiere of his work at the school, his third grade teacher Meghan Hanlon hosted the event and P.K.'s Kindergarten teacher Mary Alvy also attended.
"It was the best day ever!" said P.K.
(See the premiere, and also excerpts of PK's work in two videos above.)