The Roosevelt High Video Project: Boyle Heights Goes to Harvard

Four East L.A. scholars film their badass Cambridge adventure.

Roosevelt students (left to right) Perla, Oscar, Diana and Betty joined Roosevelt alumnus Juan and a teacher adviser on their trip to Harvard.

Growing up in Boyle Heights, an East Los Angeles neighborhood with a history of violence and crime, doesn’t make for the easiest childhood. But to Betty, Diana, Oscar and Perla, Boyle Heights is home. The Roosevelt High students see beyond the rough edges and recognize the good in their community: the strong sense of family, the honest work ethic, and the desire to achieve the American dream.

The Neighborhood: Despite the rough reputation it has earned over the years, Boyle Heights is, at its heart, a community rich with culture and history. This video takes us into the homes and hangouts of Betty, Diana, Oscar, and Perla.

A college education is something that many young Americans take for granted. For students like Betty, Diana, Oscar and Perla, acceptance at a university is the ticket to a better life.

Equipped with their own cameras, these four remarkable kids agreed to document their lives. This video series is a compilation of the footage they shot. The results provide an intimate access to home and school, and reveal the hopes and dreams of four yearning students who are striving to defy expectations.

The High School: The students of Roosevelt High may have less resources than are available at other schools, but they overcome their added obstacles through hard work and refusal to admit defeat.

A college education is something that many young Americans take for granted. For students like Betty, Diana, Oscar and Perla, acceptance at a university is the ticket to a better life. In spite of limited resources at school and at home, these kids are motivated by the love of their families and driven by a desire to do their loved ones proud.

The Expectations: For many students at Roosevelt High, a college education is not a priority. For the few who do go on to college, most attend East L.A. City College or a Cal State. As a reward for academic excellence, four students traveled across the country to visit one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Harvard.

To show them that their college dream is a reality within reach, Betty, Diana, Oscar and Perla were given the opportunity to visit Harvard University, tour the campus, and meet with a Roosevelt High alumnus, Juan, who currently attends Harvard.

The College: By visiting Harvard and hearing Roosevelt alumnus Juan’s advice on getting into college, these students see a world beyond Boyle Heights and the Roosevelt campus, and expand their ideas of what is possible.

The Storytellers: Politik Media is a multimedia production company that strives to tell engaging stories that shed light on issues and people that tend to be overlooked. Through multimedia, Politik Media hopes to paint the fullest picture of its subjects and convey messages that resonate with audiences. To see more of Politik Media’s work, check out: www.politikmedia.com

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