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CCSD Faces Poor Graduation Rate, Grads Face Poor Economy | Education & Schools

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CCSD Faces Poor Graduation Rate, Grads Face Poor Economy
CCSD Faces Poor Graduation Rate, Grads Face Poor Economy

LAS VEGAS -- It's graduation time in Clark County and more than 18,000 high school seniors will mark the beginning of the next chapter in their lives. Western High School students made that transition Monday morning.  While the school district is facing challenges graduating students, the students are facing a less than inviting economy.

There will be more than 50 graduation ceremonies this week for the Clark County School District. One of the first kicked off Monday morning at the Orleans with Western High School.

"It feels like a great weight lifted off my shoulders," said Joshua Ballard, graduate. Wearing red and blue gowns and caps, Ballard, is among more than 18,000 Clark County students who will get their diploma this year.

"It's been so long. I waited for this moment for a very long time so I'm just excited," said T'kia Beard, graduate.

Although the district will see 2,000 more students graduate this year as compared to last year, the overall graduation rate in Clark County is up for some debate. Recently Education Week reported that CCSD's graduation rate in 2008 was 44.3 percent but the district is reporting a graduation rate of 68 percent. According to Education Week, the national average is 71.7 percent.

This news comes at a time when may students are entering the workforce during a slumping economy. Western's principals and parents say they want the grads to stay positive about their future.

"You have to be optimisic about it it. It's not going to stay the same. It will change and you have to be patient," said Morise Smith, who was attending her grandson's graduation.

Western's principal Neddy Alvarez left the students with this quote by author Amy Tan, "If you can't change your fate, change your attitude."

Graduation ceremonies will be held throughout the week at the Orleans and Thomas and Mack Center.

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