February 18, 2014
Of all the challenges facing today’s college-going student population, one challenge in particular outweighs all others. Finances, or family obligations, or lack of preparedness for college-level work – many can argue any of those options significantly challenges a student’s ability to succeed in college. However, all of these challenges are folded into one broader issue facing college students – being first generation.
While there is some disagreement regarding the definition of “first generation,” most believe it to mean the student is the first in the family to attend, and complete, college. For many first generation college students, finances, family obligation, and preparedness are all symptomatic of their status as first in the family to attend college. What’s more, California’s educational system is wholly unprepared to understand the needs and expectations of these students.
To shine light on the students who comprise the majority of Bakersfield College’s enrollment, Bakersfield College has arranged for four special screenings of First Generation, a movie narrated by Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood. First Generation tells the story of four California students, from their junior year in high school through their first college experiences. These students, from California’s rural mountains, to the Central Valley, to urban Los Angeles, all share similar struggles on their path to attending college.
This 95-minute documentary was filmed over the course of three years, and explores, in a vivid and stark manner, the problem of college access for first generation and low-income students, and how their success has significant implications for the future of our country.
Bakersfield College will screen First Generation this week at both the Panorama Campus in northeast Bakersfield, and the Delano Campus in Delano. Attendance is free and open to the public, though seats are first-come, first-served. No tickets or reservations available.
Made possible by the support of the Bakersfield College Foundation, First Generation is directed by Adam and Jaye Fenderson, and was sponsored in part by the Lumina Foundation for Education and GOAL 2025. The film premiered in 20111 at the Heartland Film Festival, where it was nominated for a Crystal Heart Award. First Generation won “Best Documentary” and “Best Soundtrack” at the 2012 Idyllwild International Film Festival of Cinema, and won “Special Jury Award for Social Impact” at the 2011 Napa Valley Film Festival.
Showings at Bakersfield College:
• Tuesday, February 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Fine Arts 30 at Bakersfield College’s Panorama Campus
• Wednesday, February 19, 12:40-2:30 p.m. in Fine Arts 30 at Bakersfield College’s Panorama Campus
• Wednesday, February 19, 5-6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium at Bakersfield College’s Delano Campus
• Thursday, February 20, 1-2:30 p.m. in Forum West at Bakersfield College’s Panorama Campus