Arizona PBS to Celebrate American Graduate Day, Showcase Arizona Champions

Arizona PBS will broadcast American Graduate Day, a public media initiative to keep American youth on track to a high school diploma and beyond, on Oct. 14, 2017, at 11 a.m.

American Graduate Day will showcase students, celebrity guests and other speakers promoting awareness around the dropout crisis and helping communities understand the challenges and community-based solutions associated with that crisis.

Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, more than 128 public radio and television stations have joined forces with more than 1,700 partners and at-risk schools across 48 states and one territory.

The following are three Arizona American Graduate Champions who give their time, skills and resources to the youth.

Patricia Miranda is a lead teacher at Chicanos Por La Causa Migrant Head Start. The organization serves the agriculture field workers, Hispanic immigrants and the low-income community in Somerton, Arizona. One of the main barriers there is the language, where many of the parents don’t speak English.

“We’re working to better the children, to have a better future, to understand there’s no barriers they cannot conquer,” she said.

Miranda tells parents in Spanish to “take five minutes and play with the children, spend five minutes with them reading a book because the time is very limited.”

Myrna Cárdenas is a mentor and manager of Success Services at College Success Arizona in Phoenix.

“First-generation Hispanic students face a lot of different challenges,” Cárdenas said. “A majority of our students are first generation, and about 70 percent are Latino.”

She saw herself in a lot of the students and remembers the challenges she went though, wondering if she belonged in school.

“The mentors in our organization work one-on-one with our students to build a relationship with our students and really take a holistic approach into working with them and really supporting them on their journey,” she said.

Steven Hunter, a former professional basketball player, is CEO and founder of Steven Hunter Foundation. Growing up, he understood there are a lot of distractions. He started the foundation to give back to the community.

“I wanted to stay active in the community. I felt there was a need to give back to the kids of the inner-city of Phoenix,” Hunter said.

He tells kids that “if you stay focused and dedicated to your goals and where you want to be in the future, you can achieve it.”

For more stories of American Graduate Champions, visit

PBS is a private, nonprofit corporation, founded in 1969, whose members are America’s public TV stations — noncommercial, educational licensees that operate 354 PBS member stations and serve all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Of the 162 licensees, 85 are community organizations, 52 are colleges/universities, 20 are state authorities and five are local educational or municipal authorities.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

A thriving media organization at the forefront of digital innovation, NPR creates and distributes award-winning news, information, and music programming to a network of 975 independent stations. Through them, NPR programming reaches 26 million listeners every week.

In 2013, PBS KIDS series received eight Daytime Emmy Awards, as well as a combined 13 Parents’ Choice Awards across television, mobile app and small screen categories. PBS KIDS also received six Kidscreen Awards, including being named Best Channel Website, and was also honored with a Webby Award and a Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Youth Website.

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