Passing With Flying Colors
If you walk through the halls of Sunnyside High School, you will see a certain life to it; students mingling in the halls with teachers and educators, going over their studies.
As ordinary as it may sound, this was not the case barely 7 years ago.
In 2007, this school was near the bottom of the rung, with only 41% of it's students graduating, more than half of the student body was dropping out, others were simply giving up.
For some, that trend continued before it changed.
"My sophomore year was a little bit hectic because I kind of messed up, I was falling back on my grades, I wasn't really caring about school as much anymore," said senior Clarissa Roman.
"I was going from a straight-A student to a straight-C and D student," said senior Ivan Iniguez, "My mom wasn't liking that."
So administrators began taking matters into their own hands -- developing a support system and focusing more on how they can help students learn, and how educators can teach.
"Since I told them I wanted to be an engineer, they started putting me in more math classes, then after that, they started wanting me to become a tutor," said Iniguez, "That was really fun, helping other kids with their math, you feel really good."
"They came into our classrooms, making sure we were on track, asked what we were doing, making sure our grades are good," said Roman.
Over the years, administrators and teachers watched the graduation rate leap from 41% to over 85%, more than double the rate they started with.
Since Sunnyside is a one-high school town, that number also applies to the district, and administrators say they aren't going to be satisfied until that number is at 100%
"High school is the beginning for these students, and we want the students to go on to post high school," said school principal Ryan Maxwell, "We're constantly finding ways to shift our systems and improve the systems we have for staff and students so that we can find a way to get the 15% there."
"That's one thing I really like; what administrators are really doing," said Roman, "I'm proud that we have such caring administrators and teachers too, because without them, how are they going to run our school and make sure we're going to graduate?"