Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crossing the Finish Line

Its hard to believe that we are at the end of April. Walking outside these days feels a little more like early to mid March! It's cold, rainy, and not very fun to be outdoors right now. I don't know about you, but we still have our furnace running! It seems Mother Nature hasn't receive the message: winter is over and spring is here. Regardless of whether or not the weather cooperates, it is May. That means we are just a few short weeks from graduation. There is no doubt our Seniors are getting excited for these last couple of weeks. We will have award assemblies, recognition of accomplishments, state track, and final music performances. The end of the academic year grows near, and soon the Class of 2014 will be ready to take on whatever comes next. But first, they have to fulfill the final requirements that will entitle them to a diploma from Hudson High School.

Having a high school diploma matters, and without one you are at a distinct disadvantage.  A 2012 Boston Globe report indicates that the unemployment rate of high school dropouts is 18.7%. Your ability to get a good paying job is significantly diminished without a diploma. The fact is, I just had a conversation with a hiring agent for a local company that is looking to hire somewhere in the vicinity of 25 employees a month for the next several months. These are good paying entry level jobs that require a high school diploma, and there are opportunities for advancement. Without a diploma, you can expect to earn about $300,000 less in lifetime earnings than someone who had graduated from high school. There should be no question the high school diploma that our students will be receiving in a few weeks is the gateway to a successful life, and without one they can expect to encounter roadblock after roadblock. Leaving the safety of home and high school is going to be tough enough, let alone doing it without the benefits that come with a high school diploma.

Nationwide, the graduation rate is hovering right around 80% as reported on April 28th by the AP. The good news is that that rate is on the rise-the bad news is that 1 in every 5 students are still dropping out of school. If you take a closer look at the graphic that was included in the AP story, you will hopefully take note that Iowa has the highest graduation rate at 89%. Our goal for Hudson High School graduates is that when they leave us they are equipped with the skills that are necessary for them to take than next step, regardless of whether or not that next step includes college or the workforce. So while the graduation rate nationwide is on the rise and Iowa has the highest graduation rate in the nation, Hudson High School has a graduation rate of 100% for a four year cohort in 2013 and 98.44% for a five year cohort in 2012!

Whatever comes next for these young people, you can be assured that they are ready!

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