For several months now, we have been involved in the exciting nationwide project American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen. A few weeks ago, we aired Translating the Dream, a documentary that looks at the unique challenges of immigrant and refugee students in Nashville schools. But as we have learned with the Storytellers project, there is great value in having the community create their own stories, in their own voice.
So, we have been collecting stories from high school students to get their firsthand perspectives on the issues that matter to them most. We want them to answer questions like, what motivates students to stay in school? What factors contribute to the decision to drop out of high school? What are the day-to-day struggles you face- including those dealing with academic hardship, bullying, lack of motivation? And for our immigrant and refugee storytellers: what are your unique struggles, and what is keeping you in (or distancing you from) school?
In the video below, Kenyan refugee Frahia, who is in 9th grade, talks about being bullied in school when she first came to America and didn’t know any English, and how falling in love with reading kept her in school.
And you can view all of the student-produced stories we’ve gotten so far in the playlist below.