Coffee and Conversation is free and open to the public. Each film screening at Lincoln's Mary Riepma Ross Theatre is followed by a community discussion in UNL’s Van Brunt Visitors Center. Panelists for The Graduates are: Oscar Rios Pohirieth, Pablo Cervantes, and Jasel Cantu.
The Graduates/Los Graduados, a new two-part special from filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, explores the many roots of the Latino dropout crisis through the eyes of six inspiring young students from across the United States who are part of an on-going effort to increase graduation rates for a growing Latino population. Much more than a survey of contemporary policy debates, the student profiles in The Graduates offer a first-hand perspective on the challenges facing many Latino high school students, including over-crowded schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods, , teen pregnancy, and pressure to contribute to the family finances. The Graduates/Los Graduados is an eye-opening introduction to many of the determined and resilient young people who will shape America’s future.
Each episode of The Graduates profiles three students who were in danger of dropping out of high school. The first hour of the series tells the stories of three young women who, through a combination of educational and community resources, as well as supportive families, are able to surmount the obstacles that might have prevented them from completing their education. In the second hour, we meet three young men who have struggled with challenges such as immigration status, brushes with the law, and bullying. With a combination of community and family support, each student is able to find a program that helps him to remain in school, further his education, and get involved in his community.
Though both episodes are exceptional we will be screening Episode 2 – Boys Hour . This episode profiles three young Latinos who have overcome enormous challenges, through the help of family, friends and community organizations, en route to completing their education:
Eduardo Corona’s parents moved to San Diego from Mexico to ensure that their children would get a good education. But because both parents worked long hours, Eduardo and his siblings were often unsupervised and soon fell into a life of gangs and violence. Luckily, he met Chris Yanov, founder of Reality Changers, a college-prep organization that turned Eduardo’s life around. When Eduardo was arrested, and facing six years in prison, Chris stood by him and challenged him to focus on his schoolwork. As a result, Eduardo went on to college. Now he’s a Reality Changers counselor himself, serving as a role model and helping others turn their lives around.
Gustavo Madrigal of Griffin, Georgia started school in the U.S. in fifth grade, after being brought from Mexico by his undocumented parents. They emphasized academics and set high standards, but Gustavo’s undocumented status presented serious barriers when the time came to apply to college. He became a DREAM Act activist and enrolled in Freedom University, which offers courses to prepare undocumented students for college work and helps them to apply and find scholarships.
Juan Bernabe came to Lawrence, Massachusetts from the Dominican Republic with his mother at age 11. In his freshman year, he came out as gay. Feeling isolated and discouraged, Juan was on the verge of dropping out but the performing arts kept him in school, giving him the means to express himself and gain confidence. It also helped him academically, since students in the program must keep their grades up in order to perform. Juan choreographed a prize-winning foxtrot in the dance competition and found another outlet for his creativity as a writer for the student-run newspaper.
Coffee & Conversation Partners: The Ross, Osher Lifelong Learning (OLLI), KZUM, and the Malone Center, . . . and El Centro de las Americas for The Graduates.