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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!

Celebrating Graduation with the Class of... 2023?

Graduation season is in full swing across upstate New York. Hundreds of teenagers are taking that walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. How exciting! But we can't forget about the younger students who also have exciting milestones to celebrate with the end of a school year. Let's spend some time talking about their achievements and keeping them motivated to reach graduation!

Elizabeth Bigsby, used-to-be fifth grader from Union-Endicott, thanks her dad for supporting her in school and calculates that she will be a member of the Class of 2023!

 As part of WSKG’s program on graduation, we asked students to tell us about the person, place, or program that helps them find success in school. Elizabeth talks about her dad and her dream of becoming an artist with WSKG's Annie Cartie.Annie Cartie: Your teacher was telling me that you talked about lots of different people who help your class. So, who's your champion?Elizabeth Bigsby: It’s my dad. 

 Why did you decide your dad is your champion?Because he’s always there for me. He’s there when I have a scraped knee and he’s always there taking care of me. He’s always giving me some good advice. When I need to talk to him, he’s there for me and… I guess he’s just my dad! I don’t know what I would do without him.How does your dad help you with school?Every morning he helps me get up early so I can get ready for school and be in good shape. If I need to talk to him in the morning, I can talk to him... He always reminds me to do stuff before I head to school.I once in a while bring that bookmark of him in case if I ever miss him. Just say it was Monday and I told Dad about something I was going to do the next day, he’d give me some good advice because what if I haven’t done it before, like this right now, and it’s okay. We always talk about stuff. 

 Earlier you mentioned that you had never thought about how you would be a high school graduate some day. Have you ever given any thought to what you might want to do after high school?I want to be an artist! I like to sketch a lot. I have a little journal in my room and I draw this little character. I named her Puffy Pink. She’s like Jigglypuff kind of… But kind of different. Me and my brother Cole used to like drawing Pokemon so I followed his path - because he wanted to be an artist one time - so I followed his path. And I also wanted to follow my grandma’s path because she is an artist too!And so this year, I am going to an art camp. 

 I like to do many different projects. Once in awhile, I teach my step brother Nick how to do an art craft. And I have a little sister Charlotte - She loves to color now! She’s learning how to draw the head and then the arms and the legs, just without the body because she’s still learning. She’s learning how to draw dogs and cats too because, you know, I’m there for her to help teach (her).And dad, when he was younger, he said he liked to draw and sketch a lot too. When I was younger, I always had trouble drawing. So every week, when I was about five years old, my dad and I used to have these sketching meetings. Me and Dad would just talk and practice drawing. And I remember this one time we were practicing drawing stars. 



You Can Make a Difference

The 2016 Building a Grad Nation report highlights that we still have work to do to reach the goal of 90% graduation rate in the US by the year 2020.Visiting at graduation parties or waiting for a ceremony to begin are great opportunities to chat with a future graduate and celebrate whatever types of achievements they are proud of! Caring adults play an important role in student success.Count together to figure out a child's graduation year and check out this activity and coloring sheet to talk about school with our littlest graduates! 

 Special thanks to Alisha Fuller, Crossroads teacher in District Based Classrooms at Broome-Tioga BOCES American Graduate is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.