Jerry Harris | KERA News

Jerry Harris

Lara Solt / KERA News

Jerry Harris, 18, is a senior at Plainview High School in Ardmore. After his parents split years ago, he left Texas to live with his dad in Oklahoma. Jerry has gone through high school with a learning disability, but he's graduating on time at the end of May.

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.

KERA News

Earlier this year, we introduced you to a diverse group of students making the transition from middle school to ninth grade. The series, called Class of 17, is part of a nationwide public broadcasting initiative called American Graduate.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One of KERA’s Class of ’17 high school freshmen, Jerry Harris, injured his foot on vacation and and is wearing a “boot” these days until it heals. He’s certainly not doing what he loves: shooting hoops.

Willow Blythe / KERA News

Like most 14-year-olds, Jerry Harris is out of school for the summer. That means time to take it easy and hang out with friends. But for Jerry, it also means a contract -- one that he wrote -- to start many mornings at 5:30 a.m. and, as he printed in block letters, to "WORK."

Jerry's one of the students KERA is following all the way through high school in the series Class of '17, part of the station’s American Graduate initiative. And as tough as that summer contract might be, even tougher is what comes in just three weeks: high school.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The statistics are shocking: One of every four kids in an American high school drops out. That’s why KERA has joined a national public broadcasting initiative, called American Graduate, to explore the dropout crisis. Today, we’re starting a new series called Class of ’17 that will follow a handful of North Texas eighth graders from across the economic and ethnic spectrum all the way to high school graduation. First up: a 13-year-old dealing with his parents' divorce and a learning disability -- on the basketball court.