Free Community Cinema Oct. 16 presents ‘The Graduates’ |

Free Community Cinema Oct. 16 presents ‘The Graduates’

Paula Struckman
Cultural Confidential Contributor

Community Cinema begins its new season with a screening of “The Graduates,” a two-part film, the “Boy’s Hour” and the “Girl’s Hour,” produced by Bernardo Ruiz.

The Community Cinema screening Oct. 16, however, will be viewing the “Girl’s Hour,” which documents the challenges of three Latino girls who are in danger of dropping out of high school. It is the tale of girls who surmount the obstacles that might have prevented them from completing their education.

Darlene Bustos, a high school sophomore, is pregnant with multiple absences. She is asked to leave school. Darlene, determined to graduate, enrolls herself in a program for at-risk students in Tulsa and her son, Alex, in a Head Start Program. Both are working toward a better future.

Stephanie Alvarado, daughter of El Salvador immigrants, lives on the south side of Chicago with its underfunded schools. Stephanie joins Voices of Youth, a youth organization focusing on school reform issues, securing funding for schools and developing schools as community learning centers. Being an active part of the organization, her grades dramatically improve.

Chastity Salaas is torn between academic achievement and support of her family. Recognizing her problem, the school staff provides support enabling her to stay in school, and The Children’s Aid Society student success coordinator contributes to her successful graduation and college acceptance.

“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,” said Pedro Noguera, urban sociologist, during the film.

There are multi-layered messages throughout the film: The importance of educating women, the educational problems facing both immigrants and low-income families, and viable solutions to these challenges. There are avenues of escape and organizations striving to help those who want to help themselves.



WHAT: “The Graduates,” followed by a community discussion to engage the public in dialogue about the Latino dropout crisis followed by an intergenerational conversation about strategies to increase/support pathways to success for local students.

WHEN: Wed., Oct. 16; 7 p.m. screening, 6:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception

WHERE: Mesa County Central Library, 5th & Grand; Community Room, east entrance. This is a new location for the 2013-14 Community Cinema season. Parking located on east side of the library.


• Jerry Martinez, president, Latin Anglo Alliance

• Monica Heptner, principal, Dual Immersion Academy

• Herb Castello, LEAG (Latino Education Achievement Graduation), Student Assistance Program

• Melissa Moldonado, student, Latin Anglo Alliance Scholarship recipient

• Gretchen Henderson, Off the Grid Films, moderator

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