Roger Alvarez, 22, was one of the 52 percent of students who didn't make it through his senior year at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.
He dropped out in 2007, but by the time he was in ninth grade, Alvarez says he already knew he wasn't going to graduate.
"There's a certain amount of knowledge you have to have when you enter in a specific grade, and I didn't have it," Alvarez says. "Every class I used to go in, I was like, 'Do I know this? I don't know this. Nah, I'm not going to pass this class.' "
Call it the Burning Man of the Midwest: a temporary city built around artistic expression. Only this one takes place in the suburbs of Minneapolis in the middle of winter.
Minnesota is known for its 10,000 lakes. When the lakes freeze for the winter, the state is known for its ice fishing and its ice shanties — little homemade fishing shacks full of heaters, radios and bottles of schnapps.
A majestic building still dominates the skyline of Rochester, N.Y., the word "Kodak" shining brightly from the top. It's the legacy of George Eastman — the founder of the Eastman Kodak Co. — a company that helped Rochester thrive and gave it the nickname "Kodak Town."
In 1976, Kodak sold 90 percent of the film around the world. The company basically invented digital photography, but it couldn't figure out how to make the transition from film quickly enough to out-compete its Asian rivals. Of the 20 best-selling digital cameras in the U.S., not a single one is from Kodak.
Just a few years ago, America's auto industry was on the verge of collapse. When President Obama took office, he had to decide whether to bail out General Motors or let it die. He chose to send them a lifeline, to the tune of $50 billion. In this week's State of the Union speech, President Obama said that decision paid off.
"Today, General Motors is back on top as the world's No. 1 automaker," Obama said.
One morning many years ago, a little boy in Brooklyn named Peter woke up to an amazing sight: fresh snow.
Peter is the hero of the classic children's book by Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day, which turns 50 this year. Peter has a red snowsuit, a stick just right for knocking snow off of trees, and a snowball in his pocket. And, though this is never mentioned in the text, Peter is African-American.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 1:03 pm
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
What do you do when the conversation lags? Our friend Richard Glover of the ABC in Sydney, Australia might know. This week he and sports author and journalist Peter FitzSimons set a new Guinness World Record for Longest Radio or TV interview: 24 hours, with only an occasional loo break. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The record-setting interview did not take place "this week." It was actually in December 2011.]
The women's finals in the Australian Open are already over. In baseball, power-hitter Prince Fielder has returned to his childhood team, the Detroit Tigers, for which his father played. Host Scott Simon talks sports with Howard Bryant of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com.
Time now for your letters. Last week we spoke with Christian Bale who stars in the new film, "The Flowers of War." The movie takes place in China during Japan's violent occupation of Nanjing in 1937. "The Flowers of War" has been criticized as being part of an effort by the Chinese government to improve China's image in the world.