The Graduates [Blog] – Generation Justice

By Pauly Denetclaw

On the evening of October 30, 2013 I attended the Girl’s Hour screening of The Graduates at the Kimo Theater. The PBS show is part of a series that focuses on Latino graduation rates and the personal stories of those who are struggling to graduate from high school. Following the screening of the documentary there was a brief discussion about the issues raised by the documentary. It led me to the question “why did I graduate from high school?” After, some thinking here is my response: 

I graduated because I was expected to. I don’t have beautiful words or an inspirational story. Yes, I’m a person of color but I come from a stable, middle class family. I had no reason to struggle. I had everything provided to me. I needed a laptop. I got one. I needed to print so we got a printer. Whatever I needed to succeed was given to me. However, I still struggled. To this day I don’t understand why.

As you can tell I grew up differently from the young ladies in the documentary. They overcame many adversities like motherhood, poverty and homelessness – struggles I have never encountered. They looked to the future and it was bleak. They struggled to find the drive and that is our common ground. I, too, didn’t have drive to succeed in school. It could have been a combination of my constant sadness and not being academically challenged. Whatever the case I couldn’t find inspiration.

However, these three young ladies are now my inspiration. They have overcome so much in their short time on earth. They inspire me to work harder and not take things for granted. Thank you, Darlene, Stephanie and Chastity for reminding me that nothing comes easy.

For more information on the film, you can go to

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