State of the Re:Union with Al Letson: Dropouts to Graduates: The Story of the Care Center — An American Graduate Special

(Rochester, New York) – Al Letson visits the Care Center, an alternative school just for pregnant and parenting teens who’ve dropped out of high school in Holyoke, Massachusetts. State of the Re:Union with Al Letson: Dropouts to Graduates: The Story of the Care Center — An American Graduate Special airs Sunday, June 9, 2013 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2.

Say you meet a teenager. She’s 16, and she’s already dropped out of school. Now, she’s pregnant, due in a few months. She’s on her own, as her boyfriend disappeared when news of the baby came out. She doesn’t have a job, and is hoping her mom won’t kick her out of the house. What would your expectations for her be? What do you think she’ll achieve? If you’re in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the answer to those questions might be very different from the predictable one of hopelessness and dim futures. That’s because Holyoke is home to the Care Center, an alternative school just for pregnant and parenting teens who’ve dropped out of high school. It’s not your typical GED program, either: it’s modeled on a prep school, so students are learning fencing, rowing, yoga and poetry along with basic math and reading. Their personal histories are fraught with homelessness, domestic violence, gangs, food insecurity—the entire student body is living at or below 50 % of the poverty level, and 2/3rds of them dropped out of high school by the 10th grade. Despite all that, between 70 and 85 percent of Care Center students go on to college. In this American Graduate special, State of the Re:Union goes deep inside this school—learning its philosophy and the life stories of students and teachers—to explore what it takes to turn a teen mom’s life around. 

SOTRU is hosted by Public Radio Talent Quest Winner and performance artist Al Letson. With a journalistic, documentary-style approach, each hour-long program focuses exclusively on one city, region, or other community and features interviews, commentary, recordings, listener-generated letters, and music.

Pictured: Host Al Letson

 


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