Dawson County High administrators were pleased earlier this year when the school’s graduation rate hit 84.4 percent.
Those smiles widened after a recent report showed the rate for the class of 2009 jumped to 85.1 percent, a record, after a few more students took summer classes.
“I am just as proud as I can be,” Principal Wayne Chelf said. “The kids are rising to the challenge and wanting to succeed.”
A separate report released by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement also recognized the efforts of the county’s only high school by including it in a list of “over-performers.”
Over-performing schools are classified by the number of students on free and reduced lunch in relation to the number of students graduating and going on to receive post-secondary education at colleges, technical schools or universities.
“We’re very pleased with the improvement our graduation rates have shown over the past few years,” said Superintendent Keith Porter. “We’re judged by whether our children are able to receive a high school diploma.”
About 40 percent of students in the local school system receive free or reduced lunch.
“So many individuals have worked extremely hard to meet the needs of individual students, which is evident in the higher graduation rates,” Porter said.
In addition to the numerous tutoring programs designed to help students, Chelf credited graduation coach Steve Sweat for the progress.
“He’s a bulldog. He makes sure they are in school, and are doing the work they need to graduate,” Chelf said. “But it’s largely due to the students believing they can do it. I’m just so proud.”