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High school, the sequel: Graduates wiser, grateful, career-ready

High school dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human  rates are tied to a communityÕs economic outlook. The bleaker the forecast, the more likely that students quit school to help their families pay the bills.

This high school graduation season, something else is at work.

Although Clark County School District The Clark County School District, as of 2005, is the 5th largest school district in the United States. It serves all of Clark County, Nevada, including the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and Mesquite; plus the census-designated places of Laughlin,  officials say theyÕre seeing a steady increase in students who have left their traditional high school to care for younger siblings or find work, at the same time more adults have returned to school to improve their chances of finding employment in a tough job market.

The districtÕs Adult Ed program is responding, offering classes from dawn to dusk in more than 40 locations, including at Desert Rose Adult High School, the programÕs only bricks-and-mortar campus.

ÒOur students are facing tremendous challenges on all sides,Ó Desert Rose Principal Sandra Ransel said. ÒItÕs not getting any easier.Ó

Participation in Adult Ed is up 38 percent statewide over the past five years and is expected to continue to grow through the economic downturn.

When the 2008-09 academic year ends June 30, the districtÕs Adult Ed program will have handed out 928 diplomas at its satellite sites, plus 400 at Desert Rose. Another 1,450 students have earned their GEDs.

The Las Vegas Sun The Las Vegas Sun is one of Las Vegas, Nevada's two daily newspapers. It is owned by the Greenspun family and is affiliated with Greenspun Media Group.

The paper was published in the afternoons on weekdays from 1990-2005.
 spoke Thursday with Desert Rose graduates at the Thomas & Mack Center as they prepared to accept their diplomas.


Kathy Hurst dropped out of Rancho High School Rancho High School is a high school located at 1900 Searles Avenue in North Las Vegas, Nevada. It is part of the Clark County School District. Opened in 1954, Rancho High School was the third high school founded in the Las Vegas Valley.  in her senior year to get married. The decision, seventeen years ago, upset her parents. But HurstÕs mind was made up.

She was satisfied as a stay-at-home wife and mother to five kids — from 3 to 12 years old. But the economic downturn has led to fewer work hours for her husband, who is employed as a security guard.

ÒNow he can only get three days a week,Ó Hurst, 34, said. ÒThatÕs been tough for us.Ó

With her diploma, Hurst said, she is in a better position to contribute to the family finances. She plans to take classes at the College of Southern Nevada The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) is primarily a two-year college in Clark County, Nevada, with one four-year degree.

CSN was founded in 1971 as Clark County Community College, the school became Community College of Southern Nevada around 1978.
 to prepare for a health care career, possibly as a certified personal care attendant.

If she could travel back in time and talk to her 17-year-old self?

ÒIÕd say, ÔDonÕt be stupid,ÕÓ Hurst said.

ÒThe most important thing you can ever do is to get an education. If I hadnÕt quit IÕd be in a much better place right now and so would my family.Ó


Brenda Sanders, 51, works as a checker check·er  
a. One, such as an inspector or examiner, that checks.

b. One that receives items for temporary safekeeping or for shipment: a baggage checker.

 in a restaurant supply store but has long wanted to work with children.

Without a high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. , she had little hope of reaching that goal.

ÒIÕm struggling so hard in a minimum-wage job,Ó she said. ÒAnd I have so much to offer.Ó

Sanders had three children by age 19. School fell by the wayside as she focused on her family.

While living in Illinois she tried again and again to go back to school. She wasnÕt able to make it work until she enrolled at Desert Rose.

ÒI tell my eight grandkids, if I can do it they can do it,Ó Sanders said. ÒNever give up.Ó


Ivy Washington, 56, quit Western High School in 1970 to enlist in the Army. After leaving the military he found work as a cabinetmaker.

One day last year, when a conversation among friends turned to education, Washington mentioned he had never graduated from high school.

What are you waiting for? his friends said.

ÒI finally stopped procrastinating,Ó he said. ÒAnd now here I am in a cap and gown.Ó

He wants to continue his education and study theology, which could lead to a career change. HeÕs now in a better position to counsel others who are struggling to improve their lives, Washington said.

ÒEducation is the only way,Ó he said. ÒIt will be easier now for me to say that, since I did it myself. Otherwise, IÕd be a hypocrite.Ó


In 2007, with his mother struggling to pay the mortgage, David McAllister David McAllister, born in Western Australia, was a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet until he was appointed Artistic Director of the company in 2001. External links
  • David McAllister
 quit attending Cheyenne High School Cheyenne High School is a high school in the Las Vegas valley. It was built in the 1990s in North Las Vegas. Cheyenne opened in 1991 and is built in the same configuration as Durango High School, Cimmaron-Memorial High School and Green Valley High School.  and went to work.

At first the only jobs he could find were in fast-food restaurants.

After he turned 18, McAllister landed a warehouse job. But he didnÕt care for the work, loading and unloading the same thing day after day.

ÒI was just working to work, to get a paycheck and help my mom pay the bills,Ó McAllister, 20, said. ÒI was worried about my future — what kind of job would I get? Would I have a decent career?Ó

HeÕs now training to become a firefighter and plans to earn his paramedic par·a·med·ic
A person who is trained to give emergency medical treatment or assist medical professionals.

 certification at CSN CSN Crosby, Stills, and Nash (band)
CSN Centrala studiestödsnämnden (Swedish: state education grant and loan program)
CSN Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (French) 

ÒThe future is bright,Ó McAllister said. ÒA lot of doors are open to me.Ó


Back home in Utah, Tyler PetersenÕs high school guidance counselor guidance counselor Child psychology A school worker trained to screen, evaluate and advise students on career and academic matters  offered no hope that he could graduate this year. Because of family troubles he had fallen behind his classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  •, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...

Petersen, 17, found a job waiting tables for $5.15 per hour.

ÒThatÕs not exactly what my lifetime goal was,Ó he said. ÒI wasnÕt sure what I wanted to do, but being a waiter wasnÕt it.Ó

Petersen moved in with relatives in Henderson. School District officials here told him about Desert Rose and suddenly earning his diploma this year was a realistic goal.

ÒThere were a lot of days I was at school from 8 to 8,Ó Petersen said. ÒIf you have to make up 17 credits in nine months, thatÕs the way to do it.Ó

Petersen said he wants a career in politics and plans to start his higher education higher education

Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art.
 at CSN before transferring to a four-year university.

ÒIf politics doesnÕt work out, maybe IÕll be a teacher,Ó Petersen said.


Selina Rankin was a student at Shadow Ridge High School Ridge High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school serving students from Bernards Township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. The school is part of the Bernards Township School District.  when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to quit working. The only child of a single parent, Rankin dropped out of school to care for her mother, who died in February 2008.

As a sales clerk sales clerk n (US) → dependiente/a m/f

sales clerk n (US) → commesso/a 
 at a clothing store, Rankin quickly learned her options were limited by a lack of education.

ÒYou get the little-paying jobs until you get out of school,Ó Rankin, 19, said. And for high school dropouts, low-wage jobs are the only ones that are available.

Rankin tried three times to return to Shadow Ridge and complete her schooling, but couldnÕt make it fit her schedule.

Desert Rose was the answer.

ÒIÕm really glad I went back,Ó Rankin said. ÒNow I have options to explore.Ó

Emily Richmond can be reached at 259-8829 or at
Copyright 2009 Las Vegas Sun
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Author:Emily Richmond
Publication:Las Vegas Sun
Date:Jun 15, 2009
Previous Article:Picking up the tab

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