Class of 17

ESPN

We’ll turn now to a follow-up of our American Graduate series “What’s Next for The Class Of ’17?” Earlier, we caught up with Ricky Rijos Jr., an 11th grader at Flower Mound High School. He’s a basketball fanatic – but he’s only 5’6”, and after sitting on the bench he says he’s giving up the sport.

Fran Fraschilla can relate. He’s a former college coach, a current announcer for ESPN and the father of two boys who never reached 6 feet tall. Fraschilla, by the way, is all of   5’7”.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

Like a lot of high school juniors, Ricky Rijos Jr. of Flower Mound High is facing uncertainty.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For the past few years, KERA’s been checking in with students who are part of the Class of ’17. Ricky Rijos is a junior at Flower Mound High School where he loves basketball and has played every year. Now he’s trying for the varsity team but he faces tall odds. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For a kid with severe physical disabilities, having an aide at school can make a huge difference. It can affect whether a student stays in school or drops out, whether the student passes or fails. As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, Stella Chavez catches up with Class of ’17 student Chance Hawkins, a sophomore at Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School.

Dianna Douglas

Girls’ basketball teams from high schools across Texas are on their way to the state championships in San Antonio. Bryan Adams High School in Dallas earned a spot in the Final Four this year.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Ricky Rijos is ratcheting up his hoop dreams. Ricky, who’s a member of KERA’s Class of ’17, has left one private basketball coach for a new, pricier one – whose clients include NBA and top college players. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The first day of school is a week and a half away, and 20 new students who just arrived from China are already settling in at International Leadership of Texas. Each kid will be assigned a student mentor at the Garland charter school. One of those mentors is a member of KERA’s Class of ’17 project.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Classes at most North Texas schools begin in a few weeks. When Phantasia Chavers starts 10th grade at Cedar Hill High School, she hopes to be spending time after school on the JV volleyball team. Phantasia’s one of the Class of ’17 students KERA’s been following as part of the American Graduate initiative. For Phantasia, a new school year means a new school and a second chance on the court.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Jerry Harris lives two different lives. His parents are divorced, and he spent the past school year with dad in Ardmore, Oklahoma. This summer, he’s with mom and sister in Coppell. We catch up with Jerry, a member of KERA’s Class of ’17.

Caydee Daniel / KERA News

These days, kids are most likely to text each other or communicate with apps like Snapchat. They post photos on Instagram and they tweet what they’re doing throughout the day. As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, we talk to some students about how even in this fast-paced digital world, the printed yearbook is still an end-of-the-year highlight for some students.

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