Student stays in school despite dropout rate - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Student stays in school despite dropout rate

Posted: Updated:
  • KWWL.com LinksMore>>

  • Waterloo News

    Waterloo News

    Local news and information for the Cedar Valley and Black Hawk County, including Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Evansdale, La Porte City, Jesup, Dunkerton, Hudson, Gilbertville, Janesville, Raymond and Elk Run Heights.More >>
    Local news and information for the Cedar Valley and Black Hawk County, including Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Evansdale, La Porte City, Jesup, Dunkerton, Hudson, Gilbertville, Janesville, Raymond, Elk Run Heights and the surrounding Black Hawk County area.More >>
WATERLOO (KWWL) - In a matter of weeks, high school graduates will walk across stages in Eastern Iowa. Meanwhile, some districts' dropout rates are keeping students in the audience.

The Waterloo Community School District has a 74% four-year graduation rate, one of the lowest in the state. Some students, though, are weaving their success stories into that statistic.

Brandon Sharar, a senior at Expo Alternative Learning Center in Waterloo, learned how to build his resume Friday in class. He hopes to go to Hawkeye Community College in the fall to study machinery. However, this time last year, things looked different; Sharar had made the decision to drop out of high school.

"It was my math, and it still is. It's just a big thing that I'm not good at, so I had more stuff to do."

But, Sharar changed his mind, now nearing the end of his senior year. He explained feeling overwhelmed last year, as he missed several days due to illness and also dealt with a death in his family.

Teachers say it's important to build relationships at school, as the support can have a significant impact.

"It's a way of saying you know what, we can do this. We can do this together, we'll figure out a schedule," Katia Allbee said, a Literature teacher at Expo Alternative Learning Center.

Principal Cary Wieland says administrators teach students to look ahead, and understand decisions made now affect years to come.

"We do talk to them about today's thinking, as well as thinking in the future. A lot of our kids think about the today, but not the ten years from now."

Sharar says he made a promise, and doesn't want to become another statistic.

"Before my grandpa had passed away I told him I was going to graduate. I promised him."

Sharar is on track to receive his diploma May 20.

As for other school districts' graduation rates in the KWWL viewing area, Cedar Falls has one of the highest with a 97% graduation rate. Dubuque sits not far behind at 92%, Iowa City has roughly a 90% graduation rate, followed by Cedar Rapids with 85%.

Powered by Frankly