A look into the depths of graduation

A+look+into+the+depths+of+graduation

Used with permission from Mary Bryant

According to the Forsyth County News, “Lambert had the highest graduation rate in the county, at 98.2%, which was 14th best in the state.” However, this could not have happened without the help of a very important position: a graduation coach. The position of a graduation coach was appointed by the state about six or seven years ago in order to improve graduation rates in high schools across the country. A graduation coach is there to provide interventions for students who might not be able to graduate on time; tasks such as calling home in the mornings for those who have a hard time waking up can make a huge difference. Believe it or not, four years ago, the state decided that they could no longer fund schools to hire graduation coaches. On the bright side, Forsyth County schools have decided to keep this vital position and improvements have been shown drastically.

After a quick interview with Mrs. Johnessee, the graduation coach at Lambert High School, it was proven that the position of a graduation coach should be supported throughout the whole country. “When Dr. Davidson had asked me to become a graduation coach at Lambert, I was confused since our school had a 99.5% graduation rate. However, I firmly believe that you don’t have much of a chance to do anything right now, unless you have a high school diploma. I also know that there is a GED diploma, which is the equivalence to a high school diploma, but I just don’t think that it’s the same thing. I also work with students who have a 504, which is a federal law designed to support students who have a diagnosis that impacts a whole life activity. Although students may think that I sit around doing nothing all day, a graduation coach has an important job of encouraging students to accomplish the classes they are taking in order to graduate on time.”

In order to graduate successfully, there are many steps for a student to take. When asked about tips for student graduation, Mrs. Johnessee said, “Do not underestimate things and get things done last minute; if you’re not sick, get it done while you can. For kids who are graduating this year and going off into the wonderful year, my number one thing is: do something every day that makes you happy because then, life is really worth it. Also, make sure you are using your time wisely to help build your skills for the future. Look for the hidden opportunities in the hidden challenges because life is not easy, but if you look at the challenges and ask yourself: what am I learning here to help me in the future? It will help you swallow that challenge.”