Today’s front-page story by Claudia Rowe examines an unusual program targeting high school dropouts in the Kent School District. Here’s an excerpt:
No one is forced to attend, yet the 18-month-old program has a waiting list, and its popularity has surged. As of December, 540 young people had enrolled, drawn by the promise of a diploma and the dawning realization of what it means to navigate adulthood without one.
‘I’m scared, man. You can’t even get in McDonald’s without a high-school diploma, and I don’t want to be no McDonald’s,’ said Todd Gauthun, 16, standing outside the iGrad storefront a few weeks ago, music dribbling from the earphones stashed in his sagging pants pocket.
He hadn’t touched a textbook since leaving Kent-Meridian High two years ago, and the implications of that choice had now become clear.
‘I hate school,’ he said. ‘But I pray to God I get into this place.’