Carl Hayden High School Students Featured in New CNN Documentary; Sneak Peak Wednesday at Cronkite School of Journalism

Preview Wednesday evening at the Cronkite School.

​CNN is profiling a Valley high school as part of its Education in America series Sunday at 5 p.m. The Cronkite School of Journalism is hosting a special screening tomorrow at 7 p.m. downtown.

The program focuses on the experiences of three different high school robotics teams across the country, including Carl Hayden High School's team. Carl Hayden became famous when its students defeated college kids from MIT at a robotics competition, then later when one of its leaders, Oscar Vazquez, was deported despite his many talents.

Sunday's episode will focus on the challenges Carl Hayden faces as a poor school facing teams from rich districts. Its main character is Maria Castro, a bright junior at Carl Hayden who is not undocumented but works as an activist on DREAM Act-related issues.

Soledad O'Brien wrote a short piece about Castro's college dreams for Latina magazine. Castro, O'Brien reports, wants to attend Stanford University. To make that a reality, she needs to take tough mathematics courses, so she lobbied the school to set up a calculus class. Carl Hayden obliged, and she's taking two years' worth of material in two semesters.

The Falcons' robotics team is one of the more successful high school programs in Arizona, and the program Sunday should be a good look at the inequities in education across the country -- as well as proof that motivated students can overcome anything.

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Gregory Pratt
Contact: Gregory Pratt