More Hispanic Students Graduating, Community Effort Credited - 8 News NOW

More Hispanic Students Graduating, Community Effort Credited

Posted: Updated:

LAS VEGAS -- One of the biggest impacts on the graduation rate is the number of Hispanic students getting diplomas.

The report shows a 9.5 percent statewide increase in Hispanics graduating in 2013.

One reason is an aggressive campaign to get dropouts back on track. Former Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones started the Reclaim Your Future initiative two years ago. It is a community-wide program that gives kids the help they need to stay in school.

For high school senior, Emanuel Quinones there is no problem too tough to keep him from earning his diploma. He is the first in his family to graduate high school and head off to college.

"I believe the motivation from parents is the most important thing. That is what has helped me move forward. I know I can always count on them to have my support," Quinones said.

The high school graduation rate among Hispanic students in CCSD went up 11.6 percent last year.

For students like Quinones, it is the English language learning programs and Saturday tutoring classes that have helped along the way.

Valley High School Principal Deann Burnett says parent involvement is also key.

"Sometimes parents are afraid to come to school because they don't have a high school diploma, or don't know how to communicate with schools. We need to do a better job at informing them," Burnett said.

Which is why Valley High School offers parent literacy classes to help parents better understand what their child is going through at school and how they can help.

For many Hispanic students, getting through school can be a challenging task, especially if they come from a family where English isn't their first language.

Blanca Machuca struggled in high school until she came across a tutoring program through the I Have a Dream Foundation.

"My parents had a language barrier so it was difficult for me to go through tutoring," Machuca said. "I received the opportunity to go through the program and go to college and I want to help give that to many other children."

Machuca has since graduated high school and is now enrolled at College of Southern Nevada, hoping to pursue a degree in criminal justice.

The I Have a Dream Foundation helps struggling students through mentoring, leadership and, of course, community involvement, which is something that educators from high schools through out the Las Vegas valley see as vital.

Principal Burnett says the 11.6 percent increase in Hispanics graduation comes from a community-wide effort.

"Even for us administratively, we all adopt 20 kids to monitor their grades and not let them fall into the cracks," Burnett said.

Quinones says he not only wanted to prove to world he can do anything he put his mind to, but he also wants to lead by example for thousands of other Hispanic students following in his footsteps.

"Latinos are getting a strong voice now, and we have a future. We can go, and we need awareness in the community and motivate each other, if we made it this far, why quit?" Quinones said.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.