MHCC Offers Free Screening of Award-Winning Documentary ‘First Generation’

Posted: November 28, 2012

“First Generation,” an award-winning feature-length documentary narrated by Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, will be screened free for audiences at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC).

Students, MHCC employees and the general public are welcome to attend a screening: Dec. 5, 3 – 5 p.m. in Room AC1600 and Dec. 6, 1 – 3 p.m. in the Student Union (Room AC50) on the Gresham Campus, 26000 SE Stark Street.

“First Generation” tells the story of four high school students: an inner-city athlete, a small-town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer and the daughter of migrant field workers. They set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to families and communities by pursuing a college education–the first in their families to do so.

The film is directed by Adam and Jaye Fenderson and sponsored in part by Lumina Foundation for Education and GOAL 2015 whose mission is to increase the percentage of Americans with college degrees. The film had its world premiere at the 2011 Heartland Film Festival where it was nominated for a Crystal Heart Award, won “Best Documentary” and “Best Soundtrack” at the 2012 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, and won awards at a number of other film festivals.

At MHCC, the screenings are sponsored by TRIO Student Support Services, a federal program that helps students to achieve bachelor degrees; and Associated Student Government. In addition, MHCC’s TRIO College First, a pre-college federally-funded program that assists low-income students who are first generation college students, is sponsoring screenings at Gresham and David Douglas High Schools.

One MHCC Student’s Story Clemente Tescahua
Many MHCC students will view the movie as if it were their own story. One such student is Clemente Tescahua,a 20-year-old Sandy High School graduate and the first in his family to attend college. Before he was born, Tescahua’s parents moved from Mexico, in search of a better life for their family, which would later grow to three sons and a daughter.

“I learned valuable life lessons watching my father, a laborer, struggle to support his family,” says Clemente. “These hard lessons about the realities of life motivate me every day to work harder at everything I do, especially school.”

But, the truth is, Tescahua wasn’t always the hard-working, goal-setting young man he is today, who wears a collared shirt and tie more often than naught, earns good grades and donates his time to community service.

“I wasn’t focused on education as a freshman in high school,” admits Tescahua. “I made poor decisions and hung out with like-minded friends.” 

Altering the direction of one’s life often takes a catalyst to initiate change. For Tescahua, a tragic car crash left him blind for many months and began a journey through a series of hospitals. After a number of surgeries, he regained his sight–and a Sandy High School Azteca Club adviser inspired him. As a result, he developed a clear vision of what he wants to do with his life, which is to become a high school counselor.

Like the first-generation college students portrayed in the film, Tescahua didn’t have the slightest idea how to apply to college, fill out a financial aid form or register for classes. With the help of student support services and leadership teams, Tescahua thrives as an MHCC Saint.  He credits his high school counselor and Azteca Club adviser for steering him to MHCC, and the college staff who are committed to helping him—and all students—succeed.

For help getting started at MHCC, please call the friendly folks in the Admissions, Registration and Records department at 503-491-7393. MHCC will help you to Be Your Dream!

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 Last Modified: 11/28/2012 03:13:53 PM