Stay in School

by Jessica Cervantez

School is now back in session for most East Texas students. But, this is the time of year, when students drop out of school the most, just a few months before graduation.

Educators are working hard to keep students in school, but the students also need to accept some of the responsibility.

25-year-old Phillip Hampton regrets dropping out of school.

"Actually, I dropped out because when I went to school I was disturbing everyone else, I wasn't concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing," Hampton said.

But now, he realizes the importance of having an education. He is taking a practice test, preparing for his GED exam.

Hampton said, "So, I can go to college and study for my certified license to be a mechanic."

Phillip is not alone. Hundreds of East Texas students drop out of school every year.

Angelina County has a 34% dropout rate. In Nacogdoches County, it's 24%. Sabine County is at 39% and San Augustine has the highest dropout rate, at 43%.

Bob Quillin, the director of Adult Education, said, "Whatever the percent is it's too high. This will affect people in their lifetime, it will affect the type of jobs they get, and it will affect all of us in lost potential in our communities."

Statistics show, those who finish school make 42% more money than those who don't. So if you don't think school is for you, Phillip has some advice.

"Stay in school, get your education why you have a chance," Hampton said.