This month, millions of teens around the country are ready to don their caps and gowns to celebrate graduation. But sadly, many more will never reach that milestone. It was recently reported that over one million students quit high school each year, which is not only harmful for those shunning diplomas, but for society as a whole. Now, PBS and actress America Ferrera are hoping to change all that, with a new program aimed to combat the country’s increasing dropout rates.
“I come from very modest and humble beginnings,” America said. “Very early on I was made aware of the importance of education and how it would be the one sure-fire way to make a better life for ourselves and to achieve the things that we dreamed of achieving.”
Ferrera has become one of young Hollywood’s greatest success stories. Born into a family of six, had to work odd jobs during her teens. But America never gave up on her high school studies, eventually earning a degree (and a whole lot of money after that on Ugly Betty).
Ferrera says education was a key component to her success and is now working withPBS to promote their new American Graduate initiative. Focused on providing resources for disenchanted high schoolers, the program recently received a $4.4 million grant to help get the ball rolling.
“Participation from community members will be extremely important in identifying the reasons students drop out, helping to create solutions and, ultimately, increasing high school graduation rates, PBS CEO Patricia Harrison said. [PBS] Stations will work with students, parents, educators, volunteers, civil groups, local government, business and others to take action to help students in ways that best fit their particular community.”, she added.
During a press conference announcing the initiative, America pledged her support as well. She also stressed how important earning that degree has been in her personal and professional life.
“Educating a child is not only about them, but the generation that comes after them. It’s hard enough as it is as an educated person in feeling like you can make a difference I can’t imagine [life] without my education.”
Do you plan on furthering your education? Sound off in the comments or@MTV3.
By Michael Lopez