High school graduation is a minimum requirement for successful adulthood today, and yet, approximately one-third of the North Carolina students who enter high school each fall will not graduate within four or even five years. This statistic leads to even more heart-breaking statistics for these young people. Adults who do not have a high school diploma are

  • more likely to be incarcerated;
  • more likely to suffer from poor health;
  • less likely to earn enough money to support themselves or a family;
  • more likely to need help from government, social service agencies and charities.

It is not acceptable for North Carolina to lose so many young people before they graduate from high school. The cost to these young men and women and their families is high. The cost is financial, but it is greater than that. The heaviest cost of all is the loss of human accomplishment, of happiness, and of satisfaction.

We must send one clear message to our young people: Graduate.

"The Message: Graduate" is a special campaign that highlights the importance of graduating from high school and underscores the activities that schools, families and community groups must take to help all students stay in school and graduate. It is not a project that can be accomplished only through the efforts of teachers and principals. This is a long-term effort, but it will bring long-term benefits. And, it is the right thing to do.

There is a role for everyone in this campaign. This Web site has information to help guide your participation in "The Message: Graduate." Whether you are an educator, a political leader, a student, a parent or a business person – there is material on this site to help you support this effort.




June Atkinson, State Superintendent