With the end of August comes the end of summer and the promises of a new school year. For some students, this brings the promise of a fresh start, but for those whose time in high school is coming to an end, it brings a whole new set of challenges, emotions and stress. National Geographic's new four-part documentary series American High School goes inside the senior year of students from Orangeburg, South Carolina, who share the highs and lows of their academic, athletic and personal achievements over the course of one year.
Each week at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School - affectionately called O-W - brings a different set of challenges for the students and their tenacious principal, Dr. Stephen Peters: school violence, low test scores, teen pregnancy, issues of segregation and race, and students who are financially struggling. "Changing school culture is not an easy task," says Peters, who serves not only as the students' leader, but as a friend, mentor and parental figure to many. When asked about his mission at O-W, Peters says, "It's about being an adult in their life that they can depend on."