Archives: Seasons 1-5
Segment | Education

Return to Locke High

Locke High School sits in the center of rival gang territory in Watts. Fights. Graffiti. Truancy. Apathy. All daily occurrences at the notorious, sprawling campus where students were more likely to drop out than graduate. Producer Angela Shelley asks if the charter company Green Dot can transform the lives of the kids. We also have an update on Zac Sunderland's solo tour of the world.

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Locke High!!!!!!!!!! Many of our High Schools could really benefit by the rules of Locke High. The show really impressed us. We have so many teenagers today that are in the same situation as these students. But Locke High has taught them not to give up and go for a dream. So-Cal connected did a great job in bringing the true lives of these students to our attention. We would like to see So- Cal connected continue bringing us the live version of todays students surviving in this world today. WE would like to thank everyone involved in making these true life So-Cal connected stories. Every Thursday evening brings into our home the reality of what is happening in this world today. Good job, So-Cal, keep up the great work.

Congratulations!!! I taught at Samuel Gompers '67-68, English. I love seeing your success. Now, let's get a sponsor and/or a tax-gift ID for those who donate so that your parents can all come to your last performances, not only in Band.

I am not the brightest in the class: my GPA was 3.0, about in college. But I taught college after Samuel Gompers. Hard work is what is all about, asking for help before you are in trouble in a class, getting a mentor...the sky is the limit!
God Bless

I have watched both of the stories about Locke High and in both segments I really saw a commitment from KCET to illustrate this story in its entirety. So many pproductions go into communities like this and get their story and never return. It was nice to see KCET return to Locke.

Watching this has changed the way I look at life, thank you!

I made my children watch parts one and two of this mini-series. Very inspiring! I hope to see a 3rd and 4th part! We could all used this eye-opening experience on a weekly basis.

This mini-documentary series is beautifully done and almost brings me to tears when I see it. I knew a girl once that faced a similar situation, was dating the wrong men, her daughter's father was in Prison, she was raised by only her mother herself; all she cared about was materialistic things. She used to strip for money, and utilize the occasional sugar-daddy. She turned her life around and I see that these kids are doing the same. Everyone would be lucky to have so much will power to lift themselves out of that mess.

Besides, part II was so much more finer than part I, when is part III?

I think this is an excellent piece and needed to expose the conditions we expect the youth to develop and grow in. If these individuals were not introduced to these lovely ladies where would the ray of hope shine brightly from? Avalon Blvd? San Pedro? Watts? How much longer will we expect children to grow taller and stronger then others with all the resources made available to them earlier in life? I appreciated it and hope there will be a follow up or some sort of continuum soon. Thanks........Skipp

Once again, I'm blown away by the stories of these brave kids. I want to hug them all and say "YOU HANG IN THERE!" And I want to hug KCET for showing their tough situations in such a compelling and compassionate way. Just think how much better these kids' lives could be if there was widespread commitment and cooperation toward improving the situation. Great, great work!

You've done another excellent show. I'm not too embarrassed to say that it brought tears to our eyes. As Academy members, we would vote for it instantly.

Leo & Helen Pearlstein

Inspiring and beautifully done! It was wonderful getting to know the students and teachers at Locke High. Thanks so much for sharing this story with everyone -- and please keep producing more documentaries like this!

I want a follow-up story! This was such a good presentation. Ms. Shelley surely made KCET proud.

Thank you for telling the current story of Locke High School so poingnantly and beautifully. Ms. Angela Shelley's program resonated so strongly with me that I had to watch it in pieces.
As far back as 1979 I did an article for a private national Black magazine on the championship marching band under the direction of the champion leader, Reggie Andrews, most always the underdog pitted against wealthy white valley schools.
I knew about Locke because I worked for the Watts Urban Workshop earlier (as one of seven centers partially sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, we were unsuccessfully trying to build a shopping center in the area). Just as with Locke's story of winning the (marching band) battle but not the war (school finance), we finally were able to build housing units, torn down shortly after when the Century Freeway cut a swath through the neighborhood.
At the time, I presumed it was simply prejudice against Blacks that was the problem. After all, the community still had remnants of the strong middle class family life of earlier decades. Yet, while the subjects of some of my articles in the magazine later appeared in EBONY and other outlets, the Locke champions never did. To this day I cannot understand why.
After 1979 I never went back. I had run out of gas in a rental car right after the visit, and as a long-distance runner simply ran to a gas station and filled a can. A lady driving a major old Cadillac called out to me on my way back, "whatcha doing here baby?" (I am white) I told her and she drove me back to my car. "Not safe here anymore," she said when I thanked her. I took her word.
Well, three years ago I went back as part of an LAUSD Ten School Project research program. It was an experience that proved why Locke is the poster-child for schools gone wrong.
Reggie Andrews was still there but the atmosphere was one of restlessness and emptiness.
The asst. principal poured his heart out in an documented interview (LAUSD never read): one quarter the teachers sign in and leave was one of his stunning points of information. A young history teacher told me he could not walk his class to the neighborhood library. It was 1979 all over again.
The good news was that this dedicated history teacher certainly drove home his class lesson on the start of the Spanish-American war to me, and probably the class, too.
Most tellingly and dismaying, though it was the only school at which my car was damaged (bubble gum), but what I remember so well was how astonished I was at the rowdyness of the students in the hall, but their politeness and helpfulness to me. My eternal theory of "kids wanting to get better, not worse," lives.
As a feature reporter and National Teacher Corps Intern and NTC Newsletter Editor, I've worked and done research in many urban inner city schools on both coasts, but none ever made the impact that Locke High School did on me because of the enormous talent of the students and the dedication of the superb teachers, and the unexplainable waste of so much of it.
Thank you for illustrating the story perfectly.

As I said before after viewing the first Locke High program - these stories are heart-rending. I want to follow these kids and see where they go.....I teach because I yearn to turn students around - give them a chance to understand success and what it means to hope and then go beyond hope! This program is a marvelous tool for sharing with young students - especially those in "tough" areas who might not look to education as a rescue from the dark tunnels of their lives. Alexandria Gale and others have done an excellent production of sharing truths, a hard world for some youth, and reachable success. I am anticipating the next one! Katherine Thomerson

It's so uplifting to have work of this quality available; with the recent downturn in newspaper journalism i had begun to worry if real in-depth research and excellence would go the way of the dodo. Bravo ms shelley! i'll make it a point to watch every episode, socal connected rocks!

Brilliant! Please keep producing documentaries like this!

Bryan's story, the sister, the show, the band, 1st place @LAUSD, PBS, your amazing inspiration to so many people... it's overwhelming. You must be so very proud of your kids and you have to know that they love, admire and respect you like a Saint.
I would love for you and Bryan to be recognized at our May 20, 7pm BHS Band Spring Concert (next week Wednesday). If Bryan'd be willing, we'd love him to join us playing the Stars and Stripes Forever (concert closer) and of course, I'd be honored to have you conduct the BHS Band. I plan to show the TV segment on the concert whether you make it or not so it would be huge for our band and audience if you did. I don't know of a better case for music education than what you've accomplished with Locke.
Also, my kids were hoping to have Locke come to our April 25 Solo/Ensemble Festival for an exchange this year. I'd told them early in the year, they remembered in April but I failed to coordinate anything. If you made it next week (with a student), that would certainly do for an exchange. We'd owe you a visit then.
Sincerely yours,

"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember. I do and I understand." -Proverb, Chinese

Thank you KCET and producer Angela Shelley for bringing us this compelling story. Locke High is the kind of programming we need to see more of. Because of its presentation, I found myself both riveted and moved by these young students. I hope there are many more seasons of SoCal Connected!

Your producers got to the heart of the matter by getting us to care about the stories told in this episode. We saw their victory as ours and their pain like our own, and nobility in unexpected places. Your producers were insightful and imaginative in getting to the heart of the matter and allowing these stories to unfold. We can see dedicated faculty and articulate students, whose lot it is to be in the reality of a tough environment. We see how they draw from each other and are like wildflowers growing in a desert, altogether lovely and triumphant over its surroundings. May your excellent programming continue to seek out these kind of stories. They are the stuff change is made of. Elder Nichols

Thank you for this moving and insightful look into inner city education. The producers did an excellent job conveying emotion, story and the stakes facing these characters and their peers.

As a teacher at Locke, I thank you for taking the time to come to our school and tell our story! You did an amazing job

The stories the producer of Locke High has brought to us are of real lives lived in sorrow, disappointment and struggle. It was an insight into the lives of a part of the population that we too often turn away from and ignore their difficulties. But fortunately the students have also found encouragement and a real sense of commitment from the teachers reaching out to them. To help one helps us all. Thank you to KCET and the producer for reminding us to care about each other.

i was a student at Locke High from 1971 to 1974. I just want to say that the students in the band need to take a look back. Locke High had the best band in the state. They should be proud to be a part of something that is still unique.

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