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NMSU to host GradNation community summit on boosting high school graduation rates

New Mexico State University will host the GradNation Community Summit April 1 at Corbett Center Student Union. America?s Promise Alliance, AT&T and Bravo Dealerships of Las Cruces and El Paso are partners in this event dedicated to open discourse on improving high school graduation rates in the Borderland.


Students walk down International Mall.
New Mexico State University along with America?s Promise Alliance, AT&T and Bravo Chevrolet will host ?Engaging Community Partnerships in Education: Investing in Excellence,? a GradNation Community Summit dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, April 1 at the Corbett Center Student Union. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

This free event, the first of its kind in southern New Mexico, will be from 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and include participants from education, business, civic organizations, non-profits, government, higher education, parents and students from Doņa Ana County. To register, visit http://ssc.nmsu.edu/gradnation/. The registration deadline is March 28.

?New Mexico State University is very proud to be partnering with the county?s school districts, community leaders, business community, students, parents, America?s Promise Alliance and other stakeholders who are interested in seeing students succeed in completing their high school education,? said Anthony Marin, director of student affairs.

?The summit will provide a forum in which best practices and initiatives for student success that are currently practiced by Doņa Ana County high schools may be presented, and an exchange of ideas shared by all stakeholders on how best to support local youth.?

NMSU?s summit is one of 100 summits happening around the nation as part of the GradNation campaign, led by America?s Promise Alliance, to raise high school graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020.

?The progress we are seeing toward the national goal of raising graduation rates is based on communities coming together to support and insist on better outcomes for young people,? said John Gomperts, president and CEO, America?s Promise Alliance. ?Summits like the event in Las Cruces are rallying points for communities. America?s Promise is delighted to support this effort and work with the leaders in Las Cruces and communities across the country to help advance this campaign.?

NMSU?s summit will focus on five topics: increasing high school graduation rates in the county; increasing entry and success in postsecondary education; examining workforce readiness after graduation from high school and/or college; exploring best practices in local school districts; and examining the role of technology and innovation in public school instruction.

During the summit there will be two different tracks, one community track and one student track. Fifteen high school students and 220 middle school students from the Las Cruces Public Schools and Hatch Valley Public Schools are attending the student track. In addition, NMSU student leaders will engage with the attendees.

Increasing graduation rates and providing the tools needed to do just that are what Raymond Palacios Jr., president of Bravo Dealerships of Las Cruces and El Paso, a sponsor of the event, is passionate about. As a first generation college student, he grew up believing he wasn?t the type of person to attend college.

?I didn?t know that you did not have to be the best student in high school to go to and succeed in college but I knew I wanted to empower myself and have greater opportunities,? said Palacios, who attended the University of Houston.

Now he is an advocate for empowering students and equipping them with the education they need to become successful.

?Too many of our youth drop out of school and never realize their full potential,? Palacios said. ?This summit will help those students who are wondering if they have what it takes to succeed.?

The premier sponsor of the national GradNation Community Summits initiative is AT&T, whose support is part of AT&T Aspire, the company?s $350 million commitment to graduate more students from high school ready for college and career.

For more information and the Summit?s agenda visit http://ssc.nmsu.edu/gradnation/.