In an effort to help change the course of America's dropout crisis – which each year results in more than 1 million U.S. high school students dropping out – MTV: Music Television announced the premiere of a new documentary examining America's "Silent Epidemic" and the winner of its "Be the Voice" college scholarship competition. The announcements are a prequel to MTV's participation in the May 9th "National Summit on America's Silent Dropout Epidemic," where MTV will join Congressional leaders, students, governors and educators in a call to action to end a dropout crisis that squanders the potential of America's youth at great economic and social costs.
On May 9th MTV News will premiere "The Dropout Chronicles," a stark portrait of three high school students facing unique obstacles and all on the brink of walking away from their high school diplomas. The new documentary depicts how young people from similar backgrounds make different choices about their education and how varied interventions by teachers, parents, friends and other factors impact the outcome of these choices. Sean, from Miami, finds school boring and often cuts class, but wants to make his father proud and become the first male in his family to graduate high school. Glendy, of the Bronx, has already been held back a year and faces a daunting daily commute just to get to school. Maxine, from San Diego, is only one exam away from her diploma…or so she thinks. Only one will graduate. "The Dropout Chronicles" follows these individuals as their fates unfold, premiering May 9th on MTV2 at 8:30 PM ET/PT, with a special sneak peek on MTV at 2:00 PM ET/PT that same day.
As part of MTV's commitment to serve as a megaphone for its audience and offer young people a hand in solving America's dropout crisis, today MTV also announces Jynell Harrison of Providence, Rhode Island as winner of thinkMTV's national "Be the Voice" essay competition. The challenge asked current and former students to share the challenges they've faced in trying to graduate from high school and prepare for college or the workplace. As winner of the competition, Jynell collects a $10,000 college scholarship and will share her story and ideas for change at the "National Summit on America's Silent Epidemic" May 9th in Washington D.C.
"We were inspired by Jynell's determination in the face of adversity and felt a responsibility to offer her this platform – to share her unique perspective on what America's youth need to overcome the dropout crisis," said Christina Norman, President, MTV. "'The Dropout Chronicles' delves deeper into the epidemic, in an attempt to expose more of its root causes. With these efforts, and MTV's involvement in the upcoming National Summit, we hope to help initiate targeted action that results in more high school students graduating prepared for college and the workforce."
MTV joins TIME, the Bill
& Melinda Gates
Foundation, Civic Enterprises and the National Governors Association in hosting the "National Summit on America's Silent Epidemic," where policymakers, educators, students, business leaders and more will examine the causes of the dropout crisis and ways to increase the number of students who graduate high school ready for college, career and life. Mrs. Laura Bush
and MTV President Christina Norman are among the many leading voices who will gather for the landmark conference. MTV News will provide a digital broadcast of highlights from the event, providing America's youth the opportunity to view and comment on the summit's proceedings and to offer their own perspectives about the issue. "The Dropout Chronicles" will be unveiled at a special premiere screening tied to the Summit – to be held at the National Music Center and Museum Foundation Carnegie Library on the evening of May 8th – and will also be screened at the event on May 9th.