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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!

Teen Honors Teacher and 'Grandfather I Never Had'

Champions go by many titles: teacher, coach, neighbor, friend, boss, classmate, or parent… Just to name a few! As part of WSKG’s program on graduation, we asked students to tell us about the person, place, or program that helps them find successful in school. 

Michael Feeney credits his monitor as the reason he comes to school and the reason he's even still in school.

Michael Feeney is working toward his high school diploma from EverTech Academy at Broome Tioga BOCES in Binghamton, NY. He is studying Masonry in the Center for Career & Technical Excellence. Michael has already been accepted to SUNY Delhi and will begin college this fall! He plans to study Carpentry/Applied Sciences and then continue on to earn a Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management. Video submission by Michael Feeney:

 Transcript:(The partial transcript below has been edited for clarity.) Bob Squier has been a mentor to me since 9th grade. Bob’s job is to go to classes with me and to keep me focused. He has gone above and beyond that everyday that he’s been with me. He is not only my mentor, his is my friend, and the grandfather I never had.He helps me with my high functioning autism, which gives me extreme anxiety. Talking makes me nervous and it’s hard for me to get my words together.Without Bob, I would not be here today. I would not be coming to this school, and I probably wouldn’t even still be in high school. I feel that I owe my life to him - the life that I do have and the life that I’m going to have... Thanks to Bob, I will be going to SUNY Delhi for a carpentry program which will morph into Construction Management, something I never thought I'd be able to do before he came along.He's helped me stay in control, even when he's not there. Since he's helped me so long, I've been able to start doing it myself through his advice. He has taught me how to live with my disability - fix the things I can or just let it be if I can't fix it... And I can't thank him enough. He still believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself.[laughs] And it's not like he's a young man! He's 80 years old and has had a lot of life experience and he has transferred a lot of that onto me. I can't thank him enough. I often wonder where I would be if I didn't have him as my monitor. Thank you.My champion is my monitor, Bob Squier. 


Sharing Student Voices

Michael's video was  a selected submissions from  Who’s Your Champion? community callout. His story is part of a collection of student reflections celebrating the individuals who provide endless help, support, and encouragement along the challenging path to high school graduation.Thank you for sharing your story, Michael, and honoring this very special individual. Bob Squier is certainly a one-of-a-kind educator to have in your corner. We know continued success is in your future at SUNY Delhi! 

More Champion Stories

Learn about the individuals and programs supporting students across Upstate New York. These featured champions were nominated by community members or honored by students from EverTech Academy at Broome Tioga BOCES.  American Graduate is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.