Going Door-to-Door For Student Achievement - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Going Door-to-Door For Student Achievement

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More than 500 volunteers went door-to-door on Saturday to talk to high school seniors who are in danger of dropping out before graduation.

The volunteers met with the 700+ Washoe County students to offer them the help they need to go to college or a highly-skilled career.

"We want to show that Nevada's on the move," Governor Brian Sandoval said. "Part of this is to make sure our kids are career-ready or college-ready. The first step to that is graduating from high school."

Superintendent Pedro Martinez says the school district's graduation rate has been on the rise the last few years due to programs like this door-to-door campaign. He says the class of 2013 had a graduation rate of 72 percent. That's a three percent increase from the year before at 69 percent. Governor Sandoval says he believes Washoe County can continue to improve.

"Washoe County has one of the best graduation rates in the state," he said. "They've shown drastic improvements through the last couple years, but we need to do better, and we want to get up to 80 to 85 percent."

The volunteers were briefed in the morning before setting out to try to reach the high school seniors.

"Sit down with somebody and say, 'okay, this is where your son is,'" said Jeremiah Wynn, a volunteer who's an English major at the University of Nevada. "'This is where we know he can be, and where he has the ability to be.'"

"We're not only reaching out to 12th graders, but also their siblings," Superintendent Martinez said. "Some of them have siblings in the high school, as well as in the elementary school. It's an important message we want to send to them that this community cares. We're not going to let these children drop out."

The volunteers offered the students information about academic programs to get them back on track to get their diplomas. Superintendent Martinez says it includes before and after-school programs, along with online courses.

I talked to Wooster High School Senior, Vanessa Virgen, who's been trying to get her proficiency scores up, so she can graduate. She's also been working to help her family out. Virgen says Saturday's visit with the Governor has been an eye-opener.

"It motivates me to try in school and get to where I want to be," she said.

Virgen says she wants to go to college to eventually be a dental assistant. She says her family has been motivating her to work hard in school so she can make her career goals happen.

It's a key message she wants to send to her younger siblings.

"To not give up because anything they want to become, they can do it," Virgen said. "Trying in school and stuff can get them anywhere."

Written by Adam Varahachaikol


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