American Graduate: What's Next For The Class Of '17

Series produced by KERA

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Image by: Lara Solt 

Five years ago, we met a group of North Texas eighth graders from different schools with different lives. As senior year winds down, we check in with members of the Class of 2017 before they graduate.

Class of '17 is a five-year initiative that follows North Texas students as they transition from middle school to high school and through graduation. Class of '17 explores the causes and consequences of the state's school dropout crisis - and what schools, families and community groups are doing to help keep students in school.

KERA has been checking on these students each year since 2013 to document their accomplishments, their struggles - and their hopes for the future.

13 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Jerry Harris, Credit: Lara Solt
Jerry Harris, 18, is a senior at Plainview High School in Ardmore. After his parents split years ago, he left Texas to live with his dad in Oklahom...

  • Added: Aug 09, 2017
  • Length: 04:58
Caption: Kelli Bowdy, Credit: Lara Solt
Kelli Bowdy, a senior at O.D. Wyatt High in Fort Worth, wants to be a nurse — she took special classes through school to make it happen. She’s plan...

  • Added: Aug 09, 2017
  • Length: 03:17
Caption: Ricky Rijos, Credit: Lara Solt
Ricky Rijos finished up high school in January, but he waited until June to get his diploma with his classmates from Flower Mound High School. He's...

  • Added: Aug 09, 2017
  • Length: 04:23
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At this time four years ago, Phantasia Chavers of Cedar Hill was struggling with her sister’s departure for college. Today, it’s Phantasia who’s ge...

  • Added: Aug 08, 2017
  • Length: 04:18
Caption: Alex Gutierrez, Credit: Lara Solt
Alex Gutierrez struggled with math — and that kept her from going to her dream school. She just wrapped up her senior year at a Garland charter sch...

  • Added: Aug 08, 2017
  • Length: 06:05
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Going to school in a tough neighborhood has its challenges, even for a high-achiever like Joel Luera. The high school debater is headed to college ...

  • Added: Aug 07, 2017
  • Length: 04:57
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Chance Hawkins, 19, was born with a rare genetic degenerative disease. He’s getting ready to graduate from Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School, conclud...

  • Added: Aug 07, 2017
  • Length: 04:32
Caption: Ricky Rijos is a junior at Flower Mound High, Credit: Lara Solt
Like a lot of high school juniors, Ricky Rijos, Jr. of Flower Mound High is facing uncertainty. Ricky had dreams of playing basketball after high s...

  • Added: Jun 07, 2016
  • Length: 05:02
Caption: Alex Gutierrez, right, and Olga Sandoval wait for the bell to ring in their Mandarin Chinese class at International Leadership of Texas Garland High School. , Credit: Lara
Alex Gutierrez is a student at the International Leadership of Texas high school, a charter school in Garland. For Alex, math is a struggle. As jun...

  • Added: Jun 07, 2016
  • Length: 05:19
Caption: Chance Hawkins at Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, Credit: Mark Birnbaum
Chance Hawkins has all the junior year challenges of his classmates at Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School. His personal challenge is even bigger – he’...

  • Added: May 25, 2016
  • Length: 04:45
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Since 2013, KERA has followed a group of students on the path to graduation. As they finish their junior year in high school, they’re making colleg...

  • Added: May 25, 2016
  • Length: 48:30
Caption: Kelli Bowdy attends O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth. She wants to be a nurse, Credit: Lara Solt
It’s crunch time for high school juniors to start figuring out what’s next after graduation. Kelli Bowdy already knows what she wants to do — she w...

  • Added: May 17, 2016
  • Length: 04:43
Caption: Joel Luera, right, and Steve Vasquez, left, study for a biology test at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Credit: Lara Solt
The Class of ’17 — a group of students from across North Texas that KERA started following when they were in eighth grade — are now high school ju...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio

  • Added: May 11, 2016
  • Length: 05:13
  • Purchases: 1