Samera's junior year of high school was much different than her previous two years. Samera – a bright, charming, and talented teen – was suddenly the target of bullies, and was harassed so severely that she struggled with depression and dropped out. While out of school, she cut herself off from friends and rarely left her home. After six months she decided that she needed to try again and earn her high school diploma. Unfortunately, after a few months at a new school, she learned that she would have to restart as a freshman because the administration would not accept her transferred credits.
Struck by the school’s inflexibility to work with a reformed drop-out and deflated after discovering the difficulty of starting over as a freshman, Samera dropped out again. After another six months, she enrolled herself in a third school that would accept her credits, but is known for its lower academic standards and high rate of school violence and truancy.
Samera is now in our Fellowship Program, where she is learning to use photography to document the issues she has faced in graduating from high school – including bullying and troublesome administrative policies – and is using those photos to advocate for changes in schools that would make it more welcoming for students to stay in school, and allow them to return to school should they drop out. She recently participated in our first-ever multimedia boot camp, where she used her photographs, writing, and her own voice to tell her story.
See Change: Samera from Critical Exposure on Vimeo.
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