JAG Student Voices: Kierra Hood

My name is Kiera Hood and I consider it a pleasure to share with you my thoughts on our JAG theme this year, “Stop the Drop”!

When I was informed by our specialist of our theme for this year, I immediately thought about the classmates that started this academic journey with me, but somewhere lost focus and and will not join me at the desired destination called graduation. Unfortunately, these former classmates of mine committed a terrible, yet trending mistake….they “Stopped and Dropped” the Graduation Ball!

Statistics that I have read reveal that dropping out of high school is growing and alarming trend among American High School students. According to the Huff Post High School Internet Newspaper, every nine seconds, an American High School Student becomes a dropout. I thought, Wow! That means that one in four students who enter high school as freshmen, fail to earn a diploma four years later. For me, that is very disturbing.

Well, I dropped by to tell you that “I’m dropping out” is not the popular phraseology among the JAG family network. As a matter of fact, the conversation is quite the opposite. You see, JAG students enjoy the valuable benefits of caring specialists who motivate, guide and inspire us to stay the course and finish the race. We expect to achieve our goals and become successful and productive citizens. In essence, it is a fact that the JAG program serves as a model formula for “Stopping the Drop”.

In order to understand how and why the JAG model is a catalyst for a student’s ultimate success, we must explore the various reasons why dropouts drop out! Many students have stated that they feel a disconnection to their school .This group perceives school as boring, feeling unmotivated and challenged or unchallenged academically. Still others site personal barriers such as parenting, the financial need to work, and lack of parenting in their own lives as contributing factors in their decision to leave school.

These students obviously felt helpless as well as hopeless in their situations. Unfortunately they missed the S.O.S from JAG which is a lifeline that links help and hope. JAG increases the probability of each participant’s success, despite their personal circumstances.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the JAG program at my school. We are presently experiencing tough academic and social challenges. We are at risk of underachieving according to state standards yet another year. Despite it all, our JAG program is thriving. We represent almost fifty percent of our senior class. The popularity and success of the program ignites a great interest in the underclassmen also. I feel that the reasons for our success have much to do with our caring specialist and her demands and expectations of excellence. As JAG students, we are becoming equipped with the skills to face, embrace, and overcome the challenges before us.

We have learned many valuable lessons this year. The JAG experience has afforded us the opportunity to discover exactly who we are and what we have to offer the world. We truly believe that the sky is the limit in terms of our success. For us dropping out is not an option: nor has it ever been our desire. Who would want to miss out on all the golden opportunities JAG has to offer? Opportunities to give back in the form of community service projects, the prestige associated with our induction ceremony the fun of social networking?

In conclusion, it has been proven that a better education usually leads to a better job. In my opinion, dropping out is the best way to Miss Out! Hopefully, our JAG program will expand across the nation to include more states, therefore touching more students; consequently changing more lives for the better.

My future is brighter because of JAG, and I pray that the Drop will permanently Stop!

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