American Graduate Series

WUNC's American Graduate Project is part of a nationwide public media conversation about the dropout crisis. We'll explore the issue through news reports, call-in programs and a forum produced with UNC-TV. Also as a part of this project we've partnered with the Durham Nativity School and YO: Durham to found the WUNC Youth Radio Club. 

These reports are part of American Graduate-Let’s Make it Happen!- a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and these generous funders:

    Credit CPB
      Project Funders:

    • GlaxoSmithKline
    • The Goodnight Educational Foundation
    • Joseph M. Bryan Foundation 
    • State Farm
    • The Grable Foundation
    • Farrington Foundation

    More education stories from WUNC

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    Education
    4:01 am
    Mon September 23, 2013

    Savings And Safety: Can NC's New School Bus Plan Have Both?

    Mechanics must inspect every North Carolina school bus once every 30 days.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Consider the school bus. It’s big and yellow, a loud diesel engine spewing black smoke into the air. Lots of old gum under the seats. Maybe a surly but lovable driver. And plenty of spirited kids climbing on at the end of another long school day.

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    Arts & Culture
    5:00 am
    Fri September 20, 2013

    Youth Radio: Grieving For A Lost Brother

    Justavis Brooks was a Youth Radio reporter with WUNC this past summer.
    Credit WUNC

    Youth Radio reporter Justavis Brooks talks about grief her family experiences after the death of her brother.

    This past summer WUNC worked with six youth reporters. Justavis Brooks decided to use the opportunity to face something everyone has to deal with at some point- the pain of losing a loved one. 

    On December 7, 2006, my brother, Raphael Eason, was shot and killed. I was ten years old and I lived in Virginia. My brother lived with my dad’s side of the family in Elizabeth City, a town in the northeastern part of North Carolina. Since his passing he has been more of a mystery than a memory because no one has said much to me about him or the incident. This summer, I began to question the silence and the reasons behind it. I figured there was no better place to start than with my dad, Troy Brooks.

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    Arts & Culture
    5:00 am
    Fri September 13, 2013

    Youth Radio: How Shyness Can Be A Good Thing

    Mashallah Salaam, a 16-year-old high school graduate from Chapel Hill, was a Youth Radio reporter this summer.
    Credit WUNC

    This summer we worked with a group of young reporters in the WUNC Youth Radio Institute.  They included Mashallah Salaam, a 16 year old high school graduate from Chapel Hill.

    I’m someone who has always been labeled as shy. I used to get talked over and brushed off because I’m quiet. Growing up, I never spoke until I knew exactly what I was going to say and how I was going to say it. My mom, Damita Hicks, says it’s because I was around more adults than kids.

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    Arts & Culture
    5:00 am
    Fri September 6, 2013

    Youth Radio: What Does The Word "Ratchet" Really Mean?

    Sunny Osment was a Youth Radio reporter at WUNC this summer.
    Credit WUNC

    Youth Radio reporter Sunny Osment explores the word ratchet.

    This summer WUNC worked with six youth reporters as part of the Summer Youth Radio Institute in our American Graduate Project.

    Have you ever heard of the word “ratchet”? I’m not talking about the tool you buy from Lowe's, but the “Ratchet” you use to describe Miley Cyrus’ dance moves, or someone’s out-dated flip phone?  Connie Eble, a professor in the English Department at UNC-Chapel Hill, collects college slang by asking her students to turn in terms as a class assignment.

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    Arts & Culture
    8:21 am
    Fri August 30, 2013

    Youth Radio: Gang Life Puts Dead End In Sight

    Kamaya Truitt-Martin was a reporter with WUNC's Youth Radio Institute this summer.
    Credit WUNC

    This summer WUNC has been working with six youth reporters as part of the Summer Youth Radio Institute in our American Graduate Project.

    There’s a dangerous game playing out in North Durham neighborhoods every day.  Dashaun Richardson, one of my old classmates, spends most of his time in a neighborhood around Dowd Street, just a few blocks from the WUNC studios. He knows that winning this game means surviving and losing comes with real consequences.

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    Arts & Culture
    6:00 am
    Fri August 23, 2013

    Youth Radio: Burmese Refugees Help Each Other Out In Carrboro

    Akib Khan was a reporter with WUNC's Youth Radio Institute this summer.
    Credit WUNC

    Original story: Akib Khan Looks Into The Growing Community Of Burmese Refugees In Carrboro.

    This summer WUNC has been working with six youth reporters as part of the Summer Youth Radio Institute in our American Graduate Project.  Akib Khan moved with his family to the U.S. from Dhaka, Bangladesh when he was nine years old. He reports on the Burmese refugee community in Carrboro.

    Abdul Hussain and his family came to Carrboro in July. Hussain grew up in Burma. He says when he was 13, the local government made false allegations against him, forcing him to flee his homeland and that this happens to many minorities in Burma. He lived in Malaysia for years before finally being granted asylum in the United States. When he arrived, the first thing he did was look for something familiar—as a Muslim, he wanted to find a mosque.

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    Arts & Culture
    5:00 am
    Fri August 16, 2013

    Youth Radio: Hargraves Center Director Nate Davis Considers Retirement, After 25 Years

    Jerell Davis, a Youth Radio reporter this summer at WUNC, reports on his grandfather's role at the Hargraves Community Center.
    Credit WUNC

    This is the first in a series of stories from WUNC's Youth Radio Institute, a group of high school students who spent five weeks this summer reporting on issues that matter to young people in North Carolina.

    Growing up I had two homes: my grandparents’ house and the William H. Hargraves Center in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill. My grandfather, Nate Davis, lived at both. He’s worked at Hargraves for 40 consecutive years and helped make it a true community center.

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    Education
    4:34 am
    Wed August 14, 2013

    Teachers, Universities Will Hurt From Loss Of "Master's Bump"

    Teachers will no longer be able to raise their salaries by earning a master's degree.
    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    The automatic salary bump that comes when teachers earn a master's degree is going away.

    Michael Martin is a teacher. His wife is a teacher’s assistant. They love their jobs and work in adjacent rooms in their school in Buncombe County, teaching special needs students and raising three kids of their own. But their life’s work comes with a real-world sacrifice, here in the state that ranks 48th in the country in teacher salaries.

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    Education
    5:00 am
    Mon August 12, 2013

    Guilford Middle School Students Getting Tablet Computers This Week

    Math teacher Melissa Tatum is one of 900 educators who has been trained on the tablet computers. She plans to use Brain Pop in her classroom this fall.
    Credit Jeff Tiberii

    Middle school students in Guilford County are getting tablet computers this week, thanks to a federal grant.

        

    One of the largest classroom technology initiatives in U.S. history is underway in Guilford County. This week middle school students can begin picking up their tablet computers and get comfortable with the devices prior to the start of classes.

    Teachers have been learning the ins and outs of these Android-based tablets all summer.

    "There is also an encyclopedia on here, all kinds of different things that come preloaded," said Eric Loveday, 8th grade science teacher at Southwest Middle School.

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    Education
    2:14 pm
    Thu August 8, 2013

    High School Grad Rate Hits All-Time High

    For the second year in a row, the state high school graduation rate hit an all-time high.
    Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

    It’s hard to find bad news in this year’s graduation report from the Department of Public Instruction. More than 83 percent of high school students who began as freshmen four years ago graduated in four years or less. That’s up two points from last year - the previous all-time high.

    Since 2006, the four-year graduation rate has gone up 15 points.

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