Works in Progress Offers Glimpse into the Lives of Five Local Students

Last Updated by Dale Fisher on

Nine Network of Public Media
Produces New Documentary
Offers Glimpse into the Lives of Five Local Students
Works in Progress
Airs Monday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. on Nine PBS

St. Louis, MO – February 1, 2016 – As part of the American Graduate initiative, Nine Network tells the stories of five local students who are struggling against a number of challenges, including poverty, family violence, incarceration and drug abuse.

Works in Progress offers glimpses into the lives of five young people in the St. Louis metro area. The documentary weaves together their individual stories with the broad issues of economic and educational disparity often tied to race and class. The film seeks to put a face and a story on the issues so many young people face.

“It is important that we understand the stories of our young people in order to bolster their success across our region,” says Amy Shaw, the Nine Network’s Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and executive in charge of production of Works in Progress.

In the film, we meet:

  • Eighteen-year-old Michael, a senior at Riverview Gardens High School, who works to channel his anger and emotions through his step-dance team and looks forward to joining the Navy after graduation;
  • Savannah, 16, a Cleveland NJROTC Academy junior, who seeks a path that will keep her from becoming a “statistic,” despite living in a tough neighborhood;
  • Leon graduated high school but is working to be ready for college as he juggles school and work during his 15-hour days;
  • Breon, a 14-year-old freshman at Parkway Central High School, wants to leave his difficult past behind and focus on the future;
  • And Claudia, 18, a Notre Dame High School senior, who takes on family and financial responsibilities as the oldest of her siblings.

The documentary will be shared across public media stations nationwide as a part of American Graduate, a national and local initiative led by the Nine Network and designed to help communities work together on improving outcomes for all youth.

Nine is producing the film in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Frank Popper. “We want to raise awareness that all kids are worth our attention. These are kids who show promise. They want to graduate. They want to have good lives and contribute,” says Popper.

To watch a clip and learn more about the film and the American Graduate initiative,

About American Graduate

American Graduate is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community based solutions to the dropout crisis. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 100 public radio and television stations have joined forces with more than 1800 partners across 40 states. More information on the national initiative is at More information on the local initiative is at and #AmGradSTL via Twitter.

About the Nine Network of Public Media

The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted public media organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life, including four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine Kids), the Nine Center for Public Engagement, Nine LAB,, Facebook (TheNineNetwork) and Twitter (@TheNineNetwork).

The Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our mission of bringing St. Louis together as we connect our region to the world and the world to St. Louis.

For More Information Contact:

Matt Huelskamp
Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
(314) 512-9117