• 54°

Students learn about dropout effects

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
When fifth-grade students at Hanford-Dole Elementary School boarded the Choice Bus on Wednesday morning they didn’t know what to expect.
But as they sat facing the back of the bus, they quickly realized they weren’t taking a trip.
Instead, they received a reality check about the consequences of dropping out of school.
Chet Pennock, a Choice Bus presenter, showed the students a brief video that included the following statistics:
• Seventy-five percent of prison inmates are high school dropouts and 80 percent of those inmates can’t read or write.
• High school dropouts make an average of $17,000 a year, while graduates make about $27,000.
• People who graduate from college will make $1 million more in their lifetime than high school dropouts.
The video also featured prisoners who talked about how making bad decisions have negatively impacted their lives.
“These are real prisoners, serving real prison sentences,’ Pennock said. “They dropped out of school and gave up on education.” 
After the video, Pennock moved a curtain to reveal a full-size replica of a prison cell.
Students entered the cell in small groups, marveling at how someone lives in such a small space.
“The jail was awesome, it really made me think,” Matthew Hoosier, 10, said. “I’m definitely never dropping out of school.”
Ten-year-old Kierra Wilson said she was shocked to learn that so many inmates dropped out of school.
“Most of the inmates said when they weren’t in school they were on the streets,” she said.
Latrail McNeely, 11, said spending a few short minutes inside the prison cell was enough to make him never want to be inside one again.
“I learned what it would be like to have no freedom and be told what to do all the time,” he said. “I would not like that.
“I know I should stay in school and try to learn as much as I can.”
Pennock told the students that education is the path to a successful future.
“The real good news for you in that video is that if you graduate from high school and take your education to the next level you’re going to have a life of a lot of opportunity,” he said. “You can live where you want to live and be what you want to be.
“Everyone on the bus has that opportunity, it’s just laying in front of you for you to take.”
Pennock’s presentation ended with a final thought from a prisoner named Monique.
“She said ‘if only I had chosen to hang around people who chose to excel and exceed I wouldn’t be in the predicament I’m in today …’” he said. “She’s suffering because she made a lot of bad choices.”
Pennock told students to pick their friends wisely.
“Don’t let other people make choices for you,” he said. 
The Choice Bus, an experienced-based learning tool designed to show young people the power of education, made stops at Knox Middle, Koontz Elementary and Hanford-Dole Elementary this week.
The visits were part of a 14-county Communities in Schools of North Carolina tour, funded by grant funds provided by Walmart.
The Choice Bus was created by the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, an education institution based in Birmingham, Ala., that targets the nation’s dropout rate
Vicky Slusser, executive director of Communities in Schools of Rowan County — a United Way organization, said although the Choice Bus typically targets older students she heard from her staff that elementary students could also benefit from it.
“Next year they are going to be in middle school and up against so many changes,” she said. “I think this is going to be very impactful for them.”
Slusser said she worked to secure the Choice Bus’ stop in Rowan County to give local schools a free resource.
“I think any tool that we can use to show kids the importance of staying in school is essential,” she said.
Although the bus only made stops at three schools, Slusser said it’s available to visit any school and requests can be made online at www.mattiecstewart.org.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.



Comments

Comments closed.

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread