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The Graduates/Los Graduados in Washington, DC

The Graduates/Los Graduados in Washington, DC

Stephanie Alvarado (center), Michon Boston (left), Joel Rodriguez (3rd from left) at Next Step PCS

Stephanie Alvarado (center), Michon Boston (left), Joel Rodriguez (3rd from left) at Next Step PCS


The Graduates/Los Graduados, a two-part documentary by Bernardo Ruiz will have its television premiere starting tonight (October 28) on the PBS documentary series “Independent Lens.” The documentary explores pressing issues in education today through the eyes of six Latino and Latina adolescents from across the United States, offering first-hand perspectives on the barriers they have to overcome in order to make their dreams come true. During the month of October, several engagement previews of the series were presented as part of ITVS Community Cinema including an after-school screening at the Next Step Public Charter School (pictured above) in Washington, DC. The mission of The Next Step/El Próximo Paso Public Charter School is to provide students who face extraordinary challenges and who are not supported in traditional high schools the opportunity to continue their education (from website).

Hill Center - (l-r) Diana Ingraham, producers Pamela Aguilar and Katia Maguire, Stephanie Alvarado, Joel Rodriguez

Hill Center – (l-r) Diana Ingraham, producers Pamela Aguilar and Katia Maguire, Stephanie Alvarado, Joel Rodriguez

Prior to the Next Step visit, Chicago student Stephanie Alvarado, who’s featured in the documentary, and her mentor Joel Rodriguez (also in the film) joined a Q&A at the Hill Center with producers Pamela Aguilar and Katia Maguire. Diana Ingraham, executive director of the Hill Center moderated the panel. The Graduates/Los Graduados is part of two initiatives: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate and ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead.

Discussions with attendees at the Washington, DC events ranged from the challenges of being
“first generation college”; finding resources and support for undocumented youth/”DREAMers” to finish high school and attend college; the challenges of the city’s foster care system to support academic success for youth; the rewards of mentoring; and the growing “youth movement.”

Special thanks to all the participating partners, speakers and attendees for the ITVS Community Cinema events in Washington, DC including Irasema Salcido Founder and CEO of the Cesar Chavez Charter School for Public Policy; and Chavez school senior student, Hilaria “Hillary” Landaverde, who is graduating in 2014.

Watch a preview below. Watch the entire two-part documentary on PBS’s “Independent Lens.”

The Graduates/Los Graduados is bilingual (English/Spanish). ITVS has produced guides in English and Spanish to extend the reach of The Graduates/Los Graduados. You can download the guides FREE from these links:
Discussion Guide: English | Spanish
Youth Activity Guide: English | Spanish