This is the true story of Pat Conroy (he wrote the book the film is based on), a teacher who went to a small island off the coast of South Carolina where black children were offered little in the way of education. The students' difficulty pronouncing Conroy's name resulted in the title.
Voight is most sympathetic to the young people as he arrives on the island of St. Simon's, Georgia, in 1969 (used to duplicate the Carolina island where the filmmakers could not shoot, for various reasons). To the many illiterate or retarded children, Voigt becomes a latter-day Mr. Chips. He opens
their eyes to the wonders of the Great Out There: a life that includes classical music...