In a documentary about Lowell’s strict high school in San Francisco, an Asian American student blames his mother for the fact that his father never graduated from high school.

“Don’t say that,” said then-senior Alvan Kai in Chinese to his mother Capri behind the scenes before talking to the film’s creators. “I don’t want people to think badly of my father or anything else.”

While Asian Americans seeking higher colleges are stereotyped as coming from wealthy, educated families, the reality is more reminiscent of stories similar to Tsai’s stories: children of working-class immigrants clinging to the idea of ​​higher education as a tool for stability in USA

It is these students that director Debbie Lam said she hopes to humanize in her documentary “Try Stronger!”, Which debuted Monday on PBS Independent Lens.

Virginia Marshall, president of the San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators and co-chair of the San Francisco African American Honor Roll, along with outstanding student Rachel Schmidt in a scene from the movie “Try More!”
Provided by Greenwich Entertainment

“These are children who cannot afford to go to private school. “Families are counting on it,” Lum told NBC Asian America. “It’s a way for someone who hasn’t had access to get up in society.”

The documentary, which premiered in Sundance last year, tells the story of five students ’lives during the 2016-17 academic year as they begin the grueling process of entering college.

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