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The national high school graduate rate has hit a record high at 81.4 percent, but a number of students and communities must be reached to continue that growth. Today’s global economy demands a more educated workforce, requiring more students to graduate from high school prepared for post-secondary education and career.Public media is helping local communities keep more students on the path to a high school diploma, college & successful careers.WSKG is a proud community hub station of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen! Check back often for local Education news reports, media produced by teens from our area, and opportunities to get involved!

American Graduate Champion | Joe Renton

Joe Renton is recognized as a local American Graduate Champion! For nearly twenty years he and wife Barbara have provided informal music lessons to students in upstate New York. Mr. Renton volunteered with local high school bands on a daily basis providing instruction and mentorship to hundreds of students. Additionally, the Rentons sponsored music lessons and trips to the Binghamton Philharmonic for students to help cultivate a culture of music in the community.

"Many activities come and go over time, but your knowledge of music is a lifelong gift that will open many doors for you.  I assure you, that throughout your life, whether you participate in it as a profession, avocation, or as a hobby, you will meet many fine people and will form some lasting friendships.  You will gain much self-satisfaction and self-esteem in providing joy to others - and to yourselves." -Joseph Anton Renton (2002)

https://youtu.be/S9qNF6d3gFkMeet Rachel and Cora, two students who visited WSKG to share their admiration for Mr. Renton's mentorship.  

 When I was in fourth grade, I started to play the trumpet.  Even though I wasn't very good, a man named Joseph Renton saw that I had potential and he offered to give me private lessons.  He wanted to help me learn more about playing the trumpet and the history of the instrument.  Neither of my parents play an instrument so I was feeling alone while learning how to play.  With the help of Mr. Renton, I was able to learn to play at the highest level of music.  Mr. Renton would meet with me each week and would never accept any money from my parents for his time or expertise.  By providing these lessons for free, Joe Renton inspired me when I was young to continue playing and not to give up on my music.  He showed me the value of giving to others without a thought of gaining something in return.  Joe Renton knows how to pay it forward and that is a true gift.  -Rachel Maxwell

(And they even played for us!)

 Who's the champion in your life? Follow the American Graduate movement! #AmGrad | #UpstateGrad | @amerigrad | @WSKG