Video: Faced with high odds against academic success, six Latino teens seize control of their lives — and do it!

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LatinaLista — For a lot of Latino teens, going to school can be just as much of a challenge as succeeding.

For those who are low-income, first or second-generation, undocumented, live in neighborhoods where gang violence and recruitment are the norm, attend overcrowded schools with indifferent faculty and can’t envision a future for themselves, it’s no wonder that many of these students drop out, get pregnant, or get someone pregnant, take drugs or start selling them and stay in trouble with the law.

It’s a sad reality but one that is fixable for a simple reason — because many times, the students themselves, want change in their lives.

A film that debuted on PBS this fall, The Graduates/Los Graduados, by filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, highlights six Latino and Latina students and their unique challenges to succeeding in school.

The two-part series delves into the lives of these young people as they strive to not only overcome obstacles on their way to a future they know holds promise if they can get there, but the film also highlights how they are seizing the opportunities that help them help themselves and others and which are allowing them to already make a difference.

The film, in its entirety, is available for viewing online for free.

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