Star of Award-Winning Documentary “First Generation” returns to Watts Alma Mater for Special Screening

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Special guest congresswoman Maxine Waters to attend screening.

It was such a journey for me to get to where I am, and I’m a prime example of coming from nothing to becoming something. So I just want to help somebody change their life.

Jordan Educational Complex: Partnership Academy for the Arts along with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools will host a special screening of the award-winning documentary film First Generation on Thursday, May 24th at 10 AM with special guests Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the filmmakers Adam and Jaye Fenderson, and cast member and Jordan alumnus Dontay Gray.

Narrated by Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood and filmed over the course of three years, First Generation follows the journey of four high school students - an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers - who set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities by pursuing a college education.

The screening will be a homecoming of sorts for cast member Gray who attended Jordan High School where he was a talented dual-sport athlete, and will also be his first time returning to the campus since he graduated in 2009.

Gray hopes his participation in the film can play a role in helping change negative perceptions about going to college. “It was such a journey for me to get to where I am, and I’m a prime example of coming from nothing to becoming something. So I just want to help somebody change their life.”

The Jordan Educational Complex: Partnership Academy for the Arts event is the last U.S. stop on the film’s Spring Public Engagement tour which is sponsored in part by Lumina Foundation and included a screening on Capitol Hill for members of the White House and Congress. There the filmmakers and cast had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Waters who represents Gray’s district.

“It’s exciting to hear about the work the Mayor and Congresswoman Waters are doing to help turn around schools like Jordan, and we hope Dontay’s story can inspire students from South Los Angeles to believe that it’s never too late to pursue a college degree,” said filmmaker Adam Fenderson.

First Generation” explores the problem of college access faced by first generation and low-income students and how their success (or lack thereof) has major implications for the future of our nation. The trailer and more information can be found on the “First Generation” website: http://www.firstgenerationfilm.com

About Partnership for Los Angeles Schools:
The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools was founded in 2007 as the cornerstone of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s strategy to improve education in Los Angeles. It is a unique collaboration between the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District to turn around LA’s lowest performing schools and to create a model for doing so district wide. The largest non-district school operator in Los Angeles, the Partnership today manages 22 schools with nearly 16,500 students and 1,500 employees. The Partnership is a 501(c) 3 non-profit education management organization with nearly 37 full-time employees. For more information, go to http://www.PartnershipLA.org.

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