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'Los Graduados' kicks off new Community Cinema season

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 1, 2013 - The Community Cinema season at the History Museum kicks off with The Graduates/Los Graduados Oct. 2.

The bilingual documentary explores pressing issues in education through the eyes of six Latino teenagers from across the country. The student profiles in The Graduates offer a perspective on such challenges as over-crowded schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods, teen pregnancy, and pressure to contribute to family finances. The Graduates/Los Graduados is a snapshot into the lives of the resilient youth who are shaping America’s future.

As urban sociologist Pedro Noguera says about the situation covered in the film: “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.”

Following the movie, a panel discussion will feature J.S. Onesimo Sandoval, professor of Latino Sociology at Saint Louis University and Virginia Braxs, president The Hispanic Arts Council. Braxs runs program called, "Universidad YA! / College NOW!" an education initiative whose mission is to empower Latino youth to complete high school and to provide access to higher education regardless of their legal status.

A resource fair will be held from 6:30-7 p.m. Organizations that will be present include International Institute,Washington University Center for Latino Family Research, Hispanic Arts Council St. Louis, Hispanic-American Leadership Organization (HALO), St. Cecilia's Graduate Support, St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America, DAP - Diversity Awareness Partnership, Casa de Salud and Saint Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America.

To view a trailer of the film: http://itvs.org/films/graduates

Rosa Dudman Mayer is a freelance writer.

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