After leading a national effort last year to increase student attendance, Des Moines’ East High School is one of a half-dozen schools to be featured in a new film project titled Undroppable. The Undroppable project is both a documentary and social media campaign focused on raising awareness about the dropout rate in American high schools, and to highlight students and communities that are pushing on and persevering. Both students and staff from East, the largest high school in Iowa, are featured in the project.
“The best word to describe so many of our students is simply ‘brave.’ Despite facing challenging situations and long odds, they know the best route to a better future rests in their education,” said East High principal Steve Johns. “We are honored that East is a part of this project and that are students and staff have the opportunity to share with the world some of the successes taking place in our schools.”
The project’s producing team of Scooter Braun, Adam McKay, Jason Pollock, and Sharon Chang have launched over 60 clips on a new website from Pollock’s recent 8 week trip around America to conduct interviews at East and five other schools. All the content can be seen at www.undroppable.com. Videos from East only can be viewed at easthighschool.undroppable.com or via the YouTube link below.
“Do many of our students face challenges in their lives outside of school? Of course, and this effort is being very open and honest about that fact, and the fact that many of our kids refuse to give up on themselves, their education, and their future,” added Kris Byam, the smaller learning communities coordinator at East High.
Among those interviewed at East High School were students Cynthia Gallardo, Kierra Osborn, Brandon Lane, Maria Sandoval, Manual Delgado, and Allen Dudley, Jr; teachers Amanda Gregory and Tim Walljasper; smaller learning communities coordinator Kris Byam; and principal Steve Johns.
United Way of Central Iowa supports East High School’s Academic Support Lab, Communities in Schools and the Little Scarlets child development center.
These featured interviews are from East High School in Des Moines: