Wake Co. Schools hope to improve already-high graduation rates
Updated: 05/29/2012 09:56 PM
By: Heather Moore
RALEIGH - High school graduation season is officially underway.
The Wake County Public School System kicked off its graduations with Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School Thursday afternoon.
The old Pomp and Circumstance is a time-honored tradition. For seniors wearing those caps and gowns, it's something they've waited their entire lives to hear.
“I didn't think I was going to make it at the end because a lot of seniors get lazy at the end of the semester,” said graduating senior Masquai White. “I just had to push it through to go ahead and finish up so I could graduate on time.”
But not all students walk across the stage and get that high school diploma.
Last year, Wake County's graduation rate was 81 percent. That's higher than the state's rate of 78 percent.
But the state's graduation rate has been steadily improving over the past six years, rising nearly 10 percent, while Wake County's has dropped nearly two percent in that same time period.
“I had some friends from last year drop out,” White said.
School leaders said one particular area of concern is achievement gaps between different groups of students.
Compared to Wake County's overall 81 percent graduation rate last year, only 68 percent of black students graduated, 65 percent of Hispanic students, and only 63 percent of students who are economically disadvantaged graduated.
“Ultimately, we want 100 percent of students graduating,” said Superintendent Tony Tata. “That's why it's so important to have a variety of programs, whether it's early colleges or all of your athletic programs or band programs, or the career technical school we're talking about. Because ultimately that's what's going to keep children in school and that's what's going to increase their performance in school if they love what they're doing.”
These students certainly love what they're doing now; graduating and getting ready for the next big chapter in their lives.
Wake County will host 20 more high school graduation ceremonies Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
You should expect a lot of traffic and parking issues around the Raleigh Convention Center and Memorial Auditorium.
Back to list