About a year after Beverly Donofrio’s memoir, Riding in Cars with Boys, was published, she received a call from Joanne Savio from the Educational Program for Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents — EPPPA for short. Donofrio’s memoir was about growing up as a teen mother on welfare and putting herself through college. Savio had read it and implored Donofrio to visit the unique high school. “We got nothing but pregnant and parenting girls here,” she said. “They’re real pissers. I’ve read to them from your book. They’re going love you. You’re a success story. You got to say yes.”
EPPPA was a very different school than the one Donofrio had attended. At EPPPA, a student could walk into the school pregnant, take all the academic classes required for graduation plus a coarse in parenting, have pre- and postnatal exams, deliver her baby, and return to classes two weeks later (six if she’s had a cesarean). In 1992, Donofrio visited the school and met with the students, bringing her tape recorder along.
Recorded in Oakdale, Long Island. Premiered April 12, 1992, on All Things Considered.
This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.