10/25/2013 09:02 am ET

A First-Hand Look At The Challenges And Successes Of Latino Students

Courtesy of Independent Lens

Fast forward a few years, says Bernardo Ruiz, and we will be seeing even more first-generation Latinos changing the political, economic and cultural landscape of this country. But what does it take for students to transcend obstacles, graduate and help change their communities? The Mexican-American filmmaker explores this issue in his new documentary, “The Graduates.“

“Oftentimes we don’t get to hear from Latino youth directly,” says the filmmaker of “The Graduates.” “If you hear about them at all, they seem to be painted with one brush, a presence that’s often represented by other people. I’d like to let them speak for themselves, and what they want for their futures…It’s no longer a Latino issue, it’s an issue for the country as a whole.”

The two-part series follows the intimate details of the lives of three Latina and three Latino students from different regions of origin, geographic areas, and socio-economic status. The documentary, created by an all-Latino and bilingual production crew, will air nationally on PBS on October 28.

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