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General, KERA News, KERA Radio, KERA TV, News Releases 139


August 5, 2013

SSO_LogoDALLAS/FORT WORTH – What does it take to finish high school when the odds are against you? Just ask six North Texas students. KERA, the North Texas public broadcasting station, premieres Students Speak Out: An American Graduate Special on Wednesday, August 28 at 7:00 p.m. on KERA TV.

Krys Boyd, host of KERA FM’s Think, talks with four students who have overcome the odds to graduate and two students still working hard to finish. The students reveal the significant challenges they have faced on the path to high school graduation – from teen pregnancy, drug abuse and parental absence to significant family health and financial difficulties.

“Getting a high school diploma is such an important step in becoming an adult, but only three of every four American young people are graduating,” said KERA Executive Producer Jeff Whittington. “We’ll hear from the students themselves about success, family, school and the pressures they face everyday on the road to graduation.”

As part of KERA’s larger American Graduate initiative – a public media project spotlighting the high school dropout crisis – Students Speak Out features both a student-led roundtable discussion and one-on-one interviews with graduates Jarrell Brown and Mayra Millan of Dallas, as well as Ashley Tilley and Prabhesh Patel, of Fort Worth. High school seniors Scottie Gipson, of Lewisville, and Arlington’s Leslie Beltran share their goals as they near graduation. The students reveal their secrets to success and offer hope to young people and families facing similar challenges.

Meet the inspirational students of Students Speak Out.

After the television premiere, Students Speak Out will be available at as an educational resource. Students Speak Out: An American Graduate Special is the first installment of a two-episode television series focused on education in North Texas. The second episode will feature a discussion with North Texas teachers tentatively scheduled to premiere in November. Students Speak Out is funded by the Lyda Hill Foundation, The Meadows Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

KERA News also has created a multiyear education project following another group of North Texas teens. The newly launched Class of 17 blog is the centerpiece of an in-depth education series by KERA News following a diverse group of North Texas students on their very personal journeys to graduate from high school. The series includes on-air news reports and online video profiles by KERA News education reporters Bill Zeeble and Stella Chavez as well as reports, blogs and videos from the students themselves.

Meet the students of KERA News’ Class of 17.


KERA is a not-for-profit public media organization that serves the people of North Texas. The station broadcasts to the fourth-largest population area in the United States. KERA produces original multimedia content, carries the best in national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources at The station’s extensive coverage of the arts can be found at KERA-TV broadcasts on Channel 13.1. KERA WORLD broadcasts on 13.2. KERA-FM broadcasts on 90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 88.3 in Wichita Falls, 100.1 in Tyler and 99.3 in Sherman. KXT 91.7 FM, KERA’s new music station, KXT 91.7, is streamed online at



Christopher Wagley

Director, Marketing & Communications

KERA, KXT and Art&Seek