“The Graduates/Los Graduados” Explores the High School Dropout Problem

A photo of Chastity, a young woman featured in the film

Chastity grew up in the Bronx and almost dropped out when her family became homeless. Image courtesy of Quiet Pictures

September 27, 2013

“Why do you think graduating from high school is important?” That is the question to keep in mind this weekend as we celebrate American Graduate Day on Saturday, September 28. The day was established to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. AAUW has once again teamed up with Independent Lens and Women and Girls Lead to promote the film The Graduates/Los Graduados and to raise awareness of the high dropout rate among Latino high school students.

The Graduates/Los Graduados consists of two one-hour films, each of which profiles three young people who dropped out of high school, or were in danger of dropping out. Latino students have historically faced legal, social, and economic obstacles to graduating from high school. This issue is especially important to AAUW as we work to empower the next generation of leaders and to provide educational opportunities for women and girls.

The future of this country will be determined by what happens in its schools. It’s not just our democracy; it’s our economy that’s at stake. Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, so in many ways we are going to see a Latino future. We can’t allow differences related to language, culture, race, become an obstacle to doing what’s in our national interest. — Pedro Noguera, urban sociologist, The Graduates/Los Graduados

Airing October 28, 2013, on PBS, the “Girls Hour” looks at the educational challenges faced by many Latina students through the stories of three remarkable young women. The episode follows the stories of the three young women as they struggle with dangerous and overcrowded schools, pressure to contribute to family finances, teen pregnancy, and other obstacles.

Can’t wait until the film is released on October 28? Catch a preview through free Community Cinema screenings in your area.

There are also resources in both English and Spanish to accompany the film: Take action with the online Youth Action Guide, use discussion guides in the classroom and on campus, and explore other resources.

While you watch the film, keep the question in mind, “Why do you think graduating from high school is important?” You can share your testimonials through Independent Lens’ online Talkback forum, or on Twitter using #ccdcgrad.

There are also free resources available in both English and Spanish to accompany the film:

Laura Blyler By:   |   September 27, 2013

1 Comment

  1. Laura Blyler Laura Blyler says:

    If you can’t tune in to The Graduates tonight on PBS, you can join an online encore screening of the Girls Hour on Tuesday October 29th at 7pm ET, and chat live with filmmaker Katia Mcguire, film subject Chastity Salas, and celebrity guest Aimee Garcia. The conversation will be moderated Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez from Girls Inc. http://bit.ly/the-graduates-girls-ovee

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