Public Media Kicks-off New School Year with American Graduate Day

Last Updated by Desiree Duncan on
Cynthia Germanotta, Dr. Robin Stern, Hari Sreenivasan
Joseph Sinnott / ©2015 WNET

Public Media Kicks-off New School Year with American Graduate Day

4th Annual LIVE American Graduate Day Broadcast from Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center, Saturday, October 3rd Highlights Community Leaders, Educators and Youth Making a Difference

Recent data indicates that high school graduation rates across America are at an all-time high surpassing 81%  - a turning point for a country that regards education as one of its highest tenets. However, success is still a challenge for some communities, and without progress for every student, our nation cannot advance.

Studies suggest that several factors can help a young person succeed and that all students need a Champion – an adult who consistently cares and helps in big and small ways – starting early. Being a Champion for students is one of the greatest ways to help them stay on track and achieve academic success.

To bring attention to the need for more Champions to help all students navigate the challenges in and out of the classroom and to spotlight those who are already making a difference every day, American Graduate Day will premiere on public media stations nationwide this fall.

“Every student and child deserves a Champion who will fight for them every day to ensure they receive the education they deserve,” said Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist and host of American Graduate Day. “I’m proud to work with WNET and public media to highlight those individuals who are making a difference in their communities by helping students stay on track and graduate high school. We need more of these Champions to help guarantee all students reach their full potential.”    

American Graduate Day, on October 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is a live, seven-hour multiplatform broadcast from Tisch WNET Studios, hosted by Soledad O’Brien that features interviews with newsmakers, celebrities and performances celebrating the exceptional work of our educators and innovators. Featured guests will include President George W. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, Zendaya, Jane Pauley, Shaquille O’Neal, Allison Williams, Juju Chang, Rehema Ellis, Jason Derulo, Billy Bob Thornton and more.  The event will also premiere “Stories of Champions,” a new series of 14 one-minute profiles of individuals and influential figures in local communities who are successfully keeping students on the path to graduation. Additionally, for the first time, this year’s broadcast will also feature seven mini-documentaries that highlight the extraordinary work being done by Champions nationwide to help keep students on the path to graduation and track to college.  Local WCTE segments will be dispersed throughout the day, featuring stories of Upper Cumberland students and a look into the local education climate.

“Telling the stories of American Graduate Champions who are making a difference in the lives of students, schools and their communities inspires others as we work to help students stay on a positive path to graduation,” said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “American Graduate’s success would not be possible without the partnership among public media and people and organizations from all sectors of American life.”

Viewers can join the conversation on social media using the #AmGrad and #AmGradWCTE hashtags or by following American Graduate on Twitterand Facebook.  Those who are interested in connecting with these local organizations and youth as American Graduate Champions can send a text on the day of broadcast or log on to AmericanGraduate.orgto find out more about national and regional organizations involved in this effort and how to help in their local communities.  

American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen – a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Additional funding comes from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.Visit theAmerican Graduate Web site for more details on participating PBS stations as well as other television and radio

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