Someday, every student will graduate

More Americans are graduating high school than ever before. But will we ever get to the point where everyone graduates?

America’s Promise Alliance is working to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020. To celebrate the nation’s progress and map out the road ahead, celebrities and industry leaders will gather at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. on April 20.

Four local Student Reporting Labs journalists from Frederick Douglass High School were there to interview event honorees including NBA All-Star Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and the President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Patricia Harrison.

Tolu Agboke talked to the event’s hosts Colin and Alma Powell, and asked them whether teachers and youth can make a difference.

When Tiara Douglas asked Angela Diaz what advice she would give to young women who want to pursue a career in S.T.E.M., the Mount Sinai Director emphasized the importance of women pursuing their passion.

Tolu had the chance to talk to Patricia Harrison. The honoree stressed the importance of diversity in public media and that it’s pivotal to have a wide range of voices represented in stories.

Mia Rollins spoke to Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and asked him about what he wants youth to know about education.

Mr. Johnson later went on to praise Mia and the rest of the Reporting Labs team, a highlight of the night to say the least.

Ahead of the event, our youth reporters explained what earning a high school diploma means to them.

“My diploma means so much to me already. It is proof that I can endure and can handle anything that comes my way. My diploma means that I am one step closer to my future goals. I am the daughter of two immigrants, and I will be the first of my family to graduate in this country. Receiving my high school diploma will mean that I am the pioneer of my parents’ American dream.” – Tolu Agboke, Frederick Douglass High School

“A high school diploma means being successful at overcoming the trials of everyday life. As a high school student, we face difficult issues on a daily basis. Whether the challenge is academic, social or personal, you’re always facing something that has the ability to make you or break you. Receiving a high school diploma is proof that you were unbreakable during the past four years. It is proof that you are stronger and more prepared to conquer life.” – Melai Boozer, Frederick Douglass High School

“A high school diploma means that I have crossed into another path of my life. It doesn’t mean that the journey ends, but that another chapter is just beginning. The beginning of a new lifetime; the beginning of yet another opportunity to be the best that I can be and expand my capacities. A high school diploma means that, yes, I went through four tough years, but I made it with the support of family, friends and teachers.” – Tiara Douglas, Frederick Douglass High School

“Receiving my diploma will be the most amazing thing I’ve conquered thus far. I’ve felt the struggle academically and socially, but my diploma will be the symbol of my hard work and dedication. Receiving my diploma is just the beginning. As I go off to college to pursue my career in Elementary Education, I hope to instill in others the same energy and perseverance I received in school. I will use my passion for education to show my appreciation and give back to our community. Walking across the stage will become the happiest day of my life because I’ve completed 12 years of building the foundation for a successful life.” – Mia Rollins,¬†Frederick Douglass High School