The Graduates - Boys Hour

November 5, 2013
4:00pm Pacific Time
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The Graduates/Los Graduados, An eye-opening documentary on the challenges facing Latino students from across the USA.

Video Descriptions

Independent Lens l The Graduates l Share Your Graduation Story The girls' hour premieres Monday, October 28 at 10pm/9c The boys' hour premieres Monday, November 4 at 10pm/9c Check local listings: The Graduates/Los Graduados offers a first-hand perspective of the challenges facing many Latino high school students. You'll hear from the six students in the film, but we also want to hear from you. Using Vine, Instagram, or Twitter, complete the sentence, "I'm a graduate because..." and tag it with #TheGraduates or #LosGraduados. Be as honest and creative as you'd like; this is YOUR personal graduation story. Check out your video, as well as the videos of other students who are making a positive impact on America's future, at Learn more about "Independent Lens": Watch "Independent Lens" films online:

The Graduates - The Boys

This film explores pressing issues in education today through the eyes of six Latino and Latina students from across the US. The second episode features Juan, who was bullied as a gay teen until he discovered dance; Eduardo, who is steered away from the gang path when introduced to a special college prep organization; and Gustavo, whose dreams of college are blocked by his undocumented status.

55min 56sec



  • Juan Bernabe

    Juan came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic with his mother at age 11. In his freshman year in high school, he came out as gay and was subject to bullying and verbal abuse by his peers. Feeling isolated and discouraged, Juan was on the verge of dropping out. But the performing arts academy at Lawrence High exposed him to a different world. “You can live free in the dance studio,” Juan tells us in the film. Dance and performing arts gave Juan a vehicle to express himself, building his confidence. It also helped him academically, since students in the program must keep their grades up in order to perform. Juan choreographed a dance about coming out and, in his senior year, a prize-winning fox trot in the school dance competition. He did all this while writing for the student-run newspaper, What’s Good in the Hood, which seeks to change the negative stereotype of Lawrence. Juan graduated from Lawrence High in June, 2013, and is headed to Denison University in Ohio.

  • Eduardo Corona

    Eduardo’s parents moved to San Diego from Mexico in the hopes of providing he and his siblings with a better life and a better education. But as both parents worked long hours, Eduardo and his siblings were often unsupervised. Growing up in the City Heights neighborhood — what the San Diego Police Department refers to as the “probation capital of San Diego” — Eduardo’s sister and older brother became involved in gangs. Following the model, Eduardo joined a gang himself. While hanging out at the “Y” he met Chris Yanov, founder of Reality Changers, an innovative college prep and youth leadership organization that gave Eduardo his first opportunity to participate in something other than a gang. It was a fresh start, but he was still connected to his gang. When Eduardo was arrested and facing six years in prison, Chris and Reality Changers didn’t give up on him. Chris challenged Eduardo to improve his grades. Eduardo brought his grade point average up and was accepted to the prestigious "Academic Connections" program at the University of California, San Diego, eventually graduating from high school and becoming a college student. Today, Eduardo is a Reality Changers counselor, serving as a mentor in much the same way that Chris mentored him.

  • Bernardo Ruiz

    Bernardo Ruiz founded Quiet Pictures in 2007 in order to produce projects at the intersection of journalism and film. He co-produced the award-winning The Sixth Section (POV, 2003) and is the director/producer of American Experience: Roberto Clemente (PBS, 2008), winner of the NCLR ALMA Award for Outstanding Made for Television Documentary. He is the director and producer of Reportero (POV, 2013) a gripping look in to the world of Mexican journalists who cover organized crime and political corruption. Roger Ebert called it a “potent documentary…making one squirm in wonder: ‘In the same circumstances, what would I do? Could I be a tenth this brave?’ The film screened at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, among many others. He is the Series Writer and Executive Producer of the bilingual documentary series, The Graduates/Los Graduados (Independent Lens, PBS, 2013), a project of the public media initiative American Graduate. Ruiz is a recipient of a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Film and his work has been supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, the Sundance Documentary Institute, ITVS and Cinereach, among others.

  • Oscar Cruz

    Families in Schools, President and CEO. Families In Schools envisions a public education system where students have all the opportunities and resources necessary to succeed in school and in life. We seek a workforce prepared for lifelong learning, and active engagement in the civic life of our society. Guided by this belief, the mission of Families In Schools is to involve parents and communities in their children’s education to achieve lifelong success.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.