Comparing Graduation Rates

Comparing Graduation Rates

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It's a time of year for cheers and for change.

"Sad and upset cause I don't want to graduate," said one Alma-Bryant student.

"I don't want to get old, I don't want to be old," said another student.

Conquering one of the final milestones to enter adulthood can be both scary and exciting, and for many, the road to graduation was a challenging one.

"People have me to skip school and do drugs, but I had to stay on the right path and not do that," said Williamson graduate Jamel Franks

Trayvond Cooper is looking forward to attending Alabama A&M in the fall, to study computer science. His grandmother tells me he's the only one of her grandchildren to do so.

"I feel like just shouting all over this place that I am so very proud of him. When you have a young man to graduate and to see what he wanted to do and got scholarships I'm so very proud of him," said Shirley Cooper.

But as the excitement of getting a diploma becomes reality - truth is, not every student makes it across the stage.

In Mobile, 70 percent of students graduated on time last year. For Baldwin County the number is a little higher at 74 percent. While the national average 78 percent, the highest it's been in decades.

Akareem Spears is the GED program director at Bishop State Community College, and tells me he's seeing young high school dropouts over his 10 years in the field.

"The student looks like they are dropping out at 10 grade, or as soon as they reach that point and that's the troubling part because we are seeing a much younger student come than we have in the past, it use to be juniors and senior and now its sophomores," said Spears.

Mobile School Superintendent Martha Peek says her goal is to increase the graduation percentage to more than 80 percent by 2020 and says the community plays a major its success.

"It's a very fast and complex world, so we need as a community to come together, let our students know our expectations and let them know that we are going to be there. We have to help young people set goals. We have to serve at role models for them to work toward," said Peek

New graduation numbers are due out in the Fall.

While public school graduation wrapped up today, 44 GED students are preparing to graduate tomorrow evening at Bishop State. The GED program director says several changes are in store for the program. The newer version of the test will be more difficult and more expensive, going from 50 to $120 bucks.

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