Teaching for 2 years at Johnnie Cochran Middle School in South Los Angeles certainly proved to be one of the most challenging jobs I’ve ever had. The baseline of normalcy often felt elevated onto an entirely new level — as the junior high students I taught had to overcome life’s hardships on a daily basis.
I remember I had one particular student who was homeless, hungry, and trying to figure out how he and his family were going to try to find shelter for later that evening. That same student also trying to absorb the daily English class lesson that day felt nearly unsurmountable. As a teacher, I tried to inspire and soldier on as best as I could amidst some of the most dire of circumstances. I was sincerely impressed with this particular student doing the best he could — despite these challenges.
One of my old colleagues at MoveOn.org, Jason Pollock, is making a feature length documentary called “Undroppable“ which is highlighting inspiring students all over our country who are going through a lot, but somehow are able to muscle through and graduate no matter what.
There is a huge spectrum of what many of America’s youth face in terms of obstacles to overcome to ensure a quality education and access to opportunities. And I concur with Jason’s vision that we need to share these students’ stories as widely as possible to let our youth know that — they are undroppable.
As high school student Ciera Randolph, from Collins Academy in Chicago, says below, “You have to have education. I have to do it for my son.”
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