OPB Documentary Follows Students

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), a member-supported public media organization serving the Northwest, has released a new documentary that follows a group of Oregon students as they navigate the challenges of high school. “Class of 2025: Freshman Year” is part of the “Class of 2025” multimedia reporting series and offers a peek into the world of teenage life. 

The series began in 2012, the year after Oregon lawmakers approved a graduation goal for the state. The goal set was that every student would complete high school starting in 2025, an ambitious one considering that in 2011 Oregon had one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation at only 68 percent. 

OPB began following a group of 27 students in SE Portland who all started kindergarten together at Earl Boyles Elementary, documenting their educational journey toward high school and tracking their real-life successes and setbacks along the way. Now the students are in high school and OPB Education Reporter Elizabeth Miller is documenting their crucial first year. 

The teens, now scattered across Oregon and SW Washington, are adjusting to in-person learning during an ongoing pandemic and facing social and academic pressures, some at David Douglas, the largest high school in Oregon. One student is struggling to adjust to in-person learning at a new school after remote learning at home while another is forced to change schools after being suspended from his mainstream high school.

“Class of 2025: Freshman Year” dives into a world in which young people are figuring out how to be resilient while also learning who they are and what they want to become as they face the challenges of the next three years of high school and plan for their future. For one of the students that is now attending alternative high school Rosemary Anderson, part of that plan is to return to David Douglas, reconnect with classmates and play sports.

Learn more about the “Class of 2025” series (including news reporting, student profiles, podcast episodes, videos and photos) and watch the documentary at opb.org/classof2025. What started an offhanded comment has become a long-term project that is about more than just a new policy idea, it’s about real students.

eacher Brooke Birch sits at their desk at the east campus of Rosemary Anderson High School, an alternative school with multiple campuses. Photo by Elizabeth Miller.

OPB Documentary Follows Students

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