While we still have a long way to go to reach North Carolina State Superintendent June Atkinson’s goal of graduating every student “college and career-ready,” students across the state are working hard to help their peers succeed in school.
The 2012 Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation challenged college and high school students to work collaboratively and come up with an innovative idea to increase North Carolina’s high school graduation rates. With nearly 70 applications, students across the state were ready to reduce dropout rates.
Five teams in each age category were selected as finalists. More than 12,000 votes were cast, and two teams were awarded the $5,000 grand prize at the Emerging Issues Forum that February.
“Studio Lounge” from Richmond Senior High School, a homeroom study lounge for students, and “LinkedUp” from UNC-Greensboro, a mentoring program, were selected as the winners. Watch the video below to learn more about each of these projects and see their progress.
The winners, however, were not the only students who worked to increase graduation rates. Being named a finalist in 2012 was all the motivation and encouragement the A.I.M (Achieve, Inspire, Motivate) team needed to put their idea into action.
These Greene Central High School (GCHS) students were driven to implement their idea of a student-led afterschool mentoring program. With a grant from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center, A.I.M’s project has developed into a STEM awareness initiative. They created a school-based STEM club, which inspired the school’s first Robotics team.
Our economy depends on our future workers, and their education and skill sets are a crucial part of our future success. When students understand the importance of graduating and work to help their peers succeed, our state takes another step in the right direction.
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Visit our Prize page to learn more about previous winners, and the new issue-specific state employees credit union prizes for innovation.