American Graduate Month

Youth Voice: American Graduate Edition

In the United States, 1 in 4 students will drop out before he or she finishes high school. How does this statistic affect students in our community? WSKG is proud to share the powerful stories of local teens as part of Youth Voice: American Graduate Edition.

On American Graduate Week from March 11 to March 15, we heard from Evertech Alternative High School students, representing eight school districts in our area. The students share their personal stories: on being the first to graduate in their family, how they are affected when a classmate drops out of school, who is supporting them in achieving graduation. The stories first aired during Morning Edition at 7:30am and All Things Considered at 5:30pm on WSKG Radio. You can listen to their stories below.


1st Place: Bobby, Grade 11
Friday on WSKG Radio

"When I look into the world today, I see people struggling for food, people always in need of money, and I hear on the news how scarce jobs are." -Bobby


2nd Place: Thomas, Grade 11
Thursday on WSKG Radio

"If I drop out, or even if I get my GED, I would be throwing away 12 years worth of work." -Thomas


3rd Place Tie: Stephen, Grade 11
Friday on WSKG Radio

"Not because they want to boss me around or treat me like dirt, it's because they want me to succeed." -Stephen


3rd Place Tie: Jordan, Grade 11
Wednesday on WSKG Radio



4th Place Tie: Jake, Grade 11
Tuesday on WSKG Radio

"Since I was ten-years old, that has been my dream. That dream is the only thing that keeps me wanting to graduate from high school." -Jake


4th Place Tie: Randy, Grade 11
Monday on WSKG Radio

"On the walk to school, I would plan my day out in my head as if I was setting my own daily goals." -Randy


"I want to have a nice life when I get older." -Lauren


"If the county changed the way they teach, there would be a lot less drop outs and a wealthier country because everyone would be working after high school." -Billy Joe


"I also feel like, as an American, it is my duty to graduate, so I can help my county not go further down the road of unemployment." -Tim


"When I got into the 10th grade, I finally felt accepted for who I am." -Shannon


"I didn't drop out because, in my mind, I knew that I was going to a school where I could start over and meet new people." -Brandon


"I didn't want to be the only dropout in my family and be a disappointment to my mom and dad." -Z.P.


"Dropping out of school wouldn't have made my life any easier. I understand that now." -Baily


"As I got older, I realized that without school, I'd be in the same exact position as my father." -Iggy


"My great-grandmother plays a roll in me wanting to graduate. She's 87 and hasn't seen any of my family members graduate yet, and I'd like to give that to her before she passes." -Dillan


"They open up and you laugh and share stories. That's what is keeping me in high school. This is what I want to do with my future." -Ashley


"I'm going to be totally frank here; nobody's motivating me to graduate, nobody but me, at least." -Donald


"Me? I'm going to finish the race." -Thomas


"I think I would be treated differently. If you drop out, people will think you are lazy" -Bill


"Stuck on some drugs, stuck on some guys." -Dakota

More American Graduate

On WSKG Radio at 1:00pm and 7:00pm

March 7th Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools Are Failing Black Students
March 14th Left Behind, Dropping Out
March 21th Schooled: Teens’ Stories About Public Education
March 28th State of the Re:union “Summer in Sanctuary”



March 25th & 26th at 9:00pm 180 Days
The four-part limited series will chronicle the changing face of public education in the District of Columbia by exploring the challenges facing at-risk youth and the relationships between teachers, students and educational leaders at DC Metropolitan High School as they work towards the common goal of graduation.  DC Met is produced by The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).

March 26th at 8:00pm Tavis Smiley Reports: Education Under Arrest
The second in a series of education specials from Tavis Smiley Reports, “Education Under Arrest,” looks at the connection between the juvenile justice system and the dropout rate among American teens and the efforts to end this link.