Path To Graduation: Alternative Success
Written and Produced By:
Christian Ackerman, Grade 12, and
Brooke White, Grade 11
In Partnership With:
High School Learning Center at Corning Community College; and
Corning- Painted Post Area School District
According to the 2015 Building A Grad Nation Report, 81% of students in the United States are graduating. However, this leaves the remaining 19% of high school students who don’t graduate. What happens to them?
For some students in Corning, New York, there is such a thing as a second chance. The High School Learning Center is just that: a second chance to be successful in high school.
“I’m Brooke White and I’m 16. I’m currently a student at the High School Learning Center. I didn’t do well at the traditional high schools because I have a lot of anxiety problems,” explains Brooke. “So being in classes that were so big… It gave a feeling that I wasn’t important, like they didn’t care if I succeeded or not. It was just that the overall class passed enough so that they could move on to the next class.
“It left me feeling very unimportant. It was like no one wanted to be there, and for me that was a big downer… If the teachers don’t even want to be here, why would I want to be here?” asks Brooke.
The High School Learning Center is more than just a school. It is a place where individual students are encouraged to succeed.
Meet Dave Quackenbush, the lead teacher at the High School Learning Center: “[The school is] successful for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, I think it’s the culture that we’ve been able to create here at the school,” explains Quackenbush. “A culture of support and trust that focuses on learning and treating each student as an individual.”
At the High School Learning Center, every student is important.
“The teachers definitely want you to be successful,” says Brooke. “They make it very clear that that’s their top priority, is for you to be successful in whatever it is you want to do. For me, it was super important for me to know that someone else was on my side and that I was not alone.”
The High School Learning Center makes coming to school something to look forward to.
“At the High School Learning Center, I’m happy. I love coming to school just because everyone else wants to be there and everyone else wants to be successful,” Brooke shares. “And they want you to be successful.”
This video was scripted, voiced, recorded and edited by student producers, Christian Ackerman and Brooke White. In partnership with the High School Learning Center, students explore their personal path to graduation while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum.
American Graduate is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.