american graduate. let's make it happen.

A Note from Dropout Nation’s Marco: “I Love My Life”

When we last saw Marco, the young Texas high-school student featured in Dropout Nation, he had just graduated and was shipping off for basic training to become a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Marco recently wrote to FRONTLINE to provide an update, and a little advice of his own:

Hey there guys, well as you can see I am still in the United States Army. I love my job and thank you for your support. Graduating and accomplishing EVERYTHING I’VE ACCOMPLISHED is a great goal. I thank all my teachers for helping me and well also everyone who believed in me. There’s no excuses to what people can and can not do. Just set your mind to it and you will succeed. Almost forgot to mention I am also a paratrooper I am part of the great AIRBORNE soldiers. I jump from planes and love it. In a year or so I plan on joining the Special Forces team. The Army has changed my mind and way of seeing things and till this day I love my life.

When FRONTLINE first met Marco, it seemed like he might never graduate. His father had just been deported, and Marco dropped out of school for a semester to work at a grocery deli counter to help his mother pay the bills. He went back to school because of his mother’s encouragement, working nights at the deli and showing up for classes hungry and exhausted.

But Marco persevered. On graduation day, he showed off his cap: “It has my name on there,” he told FRONTLINE. “I put, ‘I made it,’ and I actually put my name on it, for when I throw it in the air.”

Follow the journey of Marco and his other classmates in the full film here.

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