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#OurChallengeOurHope: High School Graduation Rates

High School Graduation Rates
We hear a lot about how the U.S. high school graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84.6 percent, but a high school diploma remains out of reach for many of our nation’s most underserved students. In some states, the high school graduation rates for African American, Latino, and other students of color are more than 20 percentage points below those of white students.
Throughout June, as part of our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign to honor the intent of Brown vs. Board of Education not just on its 65th anniversary, but year-round, we will highlight the difficult path to high school graduation facing so many of our nation’s young people and how, with the right support systems, every student can walk across the stage on graduation day.
We also encourage you to engage a conversation in your school, home, or community about the challenges facing high school students today. Here are some resources to get you started.
JUNE 11-EVENT/WEBINAR: Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates:
Held on June 11th by the convening partners of the GradNation campaign—America’s Promise Alliance, The Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic, and The Everyone Graduates Center—this event will feature the release of the 2019 Building a Grad Nation report plus two moderated panels. One panel will focus on challenges facing homeless students while the other will consider how efforts at improving high school graduation rates must lead to stronger secondary and postsecondary outcomes.
Register Now
High School Graduation Success Stories
We also offer the following narratives to assist as you develop conversations in your schools and communities about the importance of helping all students realize a better future. While the details of each narrative may not resonate directly with your community or students’ needs, what should resonate is that every school has students who struggle daily, often with challenges that we may know very little about. Offering hope to all students should be a priority for each one of us.
A Texas high school graduate’s dedication to her father has gone viral after he was not able to attend the ceremony to watch her get her diploma. “My whole life I had thought that my whole family was going to be there,” Ruiz said. “Unfortunately, my dad couldn’t be there because he can’t cross.”
Zara Hooper remembers things from her childhood – things that no child should have to remember. By the time she was four years old, she was taking care of her baby brother, who was born addicted to meth. She remembers nights when she went to bed hungry, or the weird things she’d find in her mom’s room. She knew they shouldn’t be there, so she’d throw them away.
“Better Days Are Coming” tells the story of Davonte Johnson, a student at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit, Michigan. Davonte’s story is not unfamiliar; it is that of too many black kids who must, on a daily basis, contend with under-resourced schools, including a lack of effective teachers, school counselors, social workers, and up-to-date textbooks.
Veen Tovi used to watch other kids playing or talking to each other while she was in English-language classes. There was a significant part of Tovi that wanted to be just like those kids in her school — carefree and not struggling to learn English. Tovi, however, is a standout among thousands of Nashville public school students who graduated from this year's 2019 class. She is now part of a group of eleven students who earned valedictorian or salutatorian honors after entering Nashville public schools needing to learn English.
The stress of senior year can be overwhelming. Combine that with challenges at home, and it can derail any high school student's academic career. Memphis high school senior Tupac Mosley maintained a 4.3 GPA, scored a 31 on his ACT, and was named valedictorian—all while dealing with the death of his father and the lack of a permanent home.
Share Your High School Graduation Success Story!
If you or someone you know has a compelling story about high school graduation, please share it with us. If you have a son, daughter, grandchild, or someone special graduating from high school, let us know.
Share Your Story
Learn more about our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign.
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