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    Aubrey Marie Troutman, my 3-month-old daughter, is the reason I come to school. I’m trying to be her motivation. I don’t want her to have a reason not to finish school or have a reason to say “But you didn’t go to school, so why do I have to go to school...” I want her to know that when you finish school you can get much further in life and have more opportunities in life. If I finish school for her, she’ll have a reason to want to finish school. - Diana, 12th grader

    The biggest reason why I don't choose to drop out of school is because I don't want to end up in jail. There is no proof that I will end up in jail because I don't finish school but there is a high number of people that end up in jail because they never finished school. I can't see myself doing well living my life in jail. - Corbin, 12th grader

    I come to school for many reasons. The main reasons are to see my friends and for my parents. I rarely see my friends, so school is the only time I get to see them. Also, I know my parents worked hard to come to America to make sure I got an education. I don't want to make them feel like I've wasted their efforts. - Meron, 12th grader

    I got to school because I want to be successful in life. My goal is to become a professional athlete. I chose this picture because my friends motivate me to be the best person I can be! I think that my friends are very important to me because they keep me going when I want to give up. They are my motovation, my world, and the reason why I keep going in life, and why I come to school every day. They make me a better athlete and person every day that I have them. - Katie, 9th grader

    I come to school for myself and my brother. I want to be successful and if all it takes to live a good life is giving up a few years to my school books, then I'm willing to make that sacrifice. Another, more important, reason that I go to school is for my brother. I feel as though if he sees me achieve academic success, then he will follow in my footsteps and he too would become great. I want to be his inspiration, the person he looks up to most. - Afomia, 9th grader

    I could name many reasons why I stay in school. The first reason is because of my Grandma. I want to make her happy and proud of me. The way I act in school is all because of her. I want to let her know that she raised a smart boy that wants to do something with his life. My grades and my attitude can lead me to great achievements and they would put the biggest smile on my grandma's face. - Alex, 11th grader

    I go to school because I want to be something in life. I go to school because I can’t get anywhere without knowledge. Also, once you receive your education you can’t get that taken away. I go to school because I don’t have a choice and my parents make me. I want to have enough knowledge so I can have a job and money. Lastly, my school is my social life. - Jonnese, 9th grader

    I choose to stay in school not only because I have to but for other various reasons too. I want to be able to give my kids a great life and give them almost everything they want. I want to have a good job and live a good and fulfilling life. Other than living a good life I'd like to also be smart and set a good example for my kids. - Daniel, 9th grader

    The reason why I go to school is because I have friends and good grades. I do like going to school because that way I can learn and go to college. I will be able to get scholarships so I can learn social skills. - Ascha

    What makes me go to school is that I want to get through high school. I want to be a auto body person - I would like to work on cars. I have had this dream since I was in 1st grade. I have worked on some cars in my time but I would love to be doing it for a job. I know that I don't want to go to school but I also know that I have to, to get there. - James, 10th grader

    I go to school because I like to make new friends, and I love to learn new things. If I didn’t go to school, there would be no one new to meet. I wouldn’t have anyone to make me smile, laugh and support me whenever I have a bad day. If I didn’t go to school, I wouldn’t learn anything important. I always want to learn new things because I have a high educational standard. - Sterling, 11th grader

    Op ed in NY Times: The True Cost of High School Dropouts

    "I always wanted to make my mother happy, and make her feel as if I'm doing something with my life...And also, I don't want to beg for anything. I don't want to beg for anything. I don't want to rely on anybody to give anything to me. I want to stand up on my own two feet and say I did it myself and say that I didn't need anybody's help," Kiera, Hughes STEM School via CET

    Most high school dropouts don't end up with successful careers in Hollywood," he noted, pointing out that each day 7,000 students drop out of high school. Over their lifetimes, they will earn $200,000 less than high school graduates.

    High School Drop Out Crisis in Latino Community

    A troubling and inspiring journey through the maze of an inner-city high school.

    At the 2012 YMCA Latino Achievers Award Celebration, one high school graduate and scholarship recipient had these words of encouragement for current high school students. This student-produced video was created as part of the American Graduate project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    Homeless teen graduates as valedictorian of high school class

    Brittany Brown: Valedictorian, Washington High School

    Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young talks about why he is glad he stayed in school.

    The reason why I go to school is so that I will have opportunities. Education does play a huge role in my life because I like to learn and develop new skills. To me, you can never learn too much in the world. It grows so much each day and everyday there are changes. I like to learn about them. I want to make my family proud. When I graduate, it will show them that I was worked very hard during my four years of high school, and I had set high expectations for myself. - Aubrey, 12th grader