A new season of WKAR Community Cinema kicked off recently (October 29) with a screening and discussion of "The Graduates/Los Graduados." The new documentary series from Independent Lens explores education today through the eyes of Latino and Latina adolescents from across the United States. It is the story of the graduates who will make up America’s future.
Mid-Michigan community members saw an excerpt from the film, and discussed issues with a panel made up of Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul, education scholar Rubén Martinez of the Julian Samora Research Institute at MSU, and Eastern High School senior Jose Gallo.
"It was well worthwhile coming down," said Bobby Deleon, who traveled to East Lansing from Saginaw for the event. "There are some changes and corrections that need to be done today so that we can actually, really continue to support -- now, today -- our kids in education. It's very, very important."
"The issues are so deep. We didn't drill deep enough tonight. It's important to discuss it, and hear what others have to say. The community needed to hear this," said audience member Rosa Morales, editor of Latino Banner. "It's a serious discussion that can never reach its end."
"I really learned a lot from Dr. Martinez," said Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul of fellow panelist Dr. Rubén Martinez. "I really enjoyed Dr. Martinez' perspective on economic factors that are affecting not only Latino students, but all students."
Lorenzo Lopez of Lansing was pleased to see the way WKAR, MSU and the larger community come together at the WKAR Community Cinema screenings. "I love the idea of bringing people who are not connected with the university to the university, so they can see what really goes on at an internationally recognized institution," said Lopez. "These [screenings] are wonderful ways to get people on this campus."
"I think it makes documentaries and national public television relevant to the community," said Canul. "It gets more engagement, conversation, and has an opportunity to sort of transform our society away from reality TV that isn't so positive, into reality TV that's true reality."
WKAR's next Community Cinema takes place in late January, and will feature the independent film, "The State of Arizona."
Watch 'The Graduates/Los Graduados'
"The Graduates: The Boys" airs Monday, Nov. 4, 10 p.m. on WKAR-TV/PBS.
"The Graduates: The Girls" is available for online viewing now at video.wkar.org.