UCPS graduation rate climbs

Jul. 27, 2013 @ 04:38 PM

Senior classes historically leave behind a memento of their time at the school. Forest Hills High School graduating class of 2013, however, decided to take their contribution on a much larger scale.

On behalf of his graduating class, Marquavius De-mon McGriff presented Sheila Crunkleton of the Union County Chapter of the American Red Cross a check for $1,000 to be used for disaster relief in Oklahoma’s deadly May 20, 2013, EF5 tornado that killed 20 people, injured hundreds and caused an estimated $2 billion dollars from winds that reached an estimated 295 mph.

Crunkleton thanked the senior class at Forest Hills for their extraordinary act of generosity during the school’s graduation ceremony held last month.

“This donation shows the compassion these students have for those recovering from the tornadoes in Oklahoma,” she said. “It is always exciting to see our youth and future leaders involved in philanthropic activities. The American Red Cross relies on the generosity of the American people to help others in need.”

Forest Hills High School was one of more than a dozen UCPS high schools to recently graduate its students. With final tallies finally in, Carolyn White, director of testing and student services, said today (July 25, 2013) that 2,740 Union County Public Schools graduates have graduated this year, most walking across the stage on June 11, 2013, thus taking a very big step toward their futures.

Of those high school graduates, 86.5 percent were college-bound, raking in 2,484 scholarships with a four-year total value of more than $95 million. This is up from the $87.7 million in scholarships that the 2,715 graduates brought in last year. Of those college-bound seniors, 33.3 percent plan to attend a two-year college. About 4.5 percent of the 2,740 graduating will go into the armed forces.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction hasn’t released the official graduation percentages for each school system yet, but UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis said she expects the UCPS 2013 rate of 89.5 percent to increase, distinguishing UCPS as a continued leader in graduation rates for school systems its size across the state. The 2012 average graduate rate for the state’s 2,482 public schools and public charter schools is 80.4 percent.

“We will not rest until 100 percent of our students can walk across the stage with that diploma in hand,” Ellis said, adding that the school system is working hard to make that happen, going the extra mile to reach more at-risk students earlier.

Extra counselors are being placed in at-risk high schools, tutoring is also increased. There is an increased access to technology and specialized school programs that reach out to more at-risk students.

Most of the high schools held their graduations on June 11. Central Academy of Technology & Arts, Piedmont High, Porter Ridge and Sun Valley High Schools held their ceremonies at staggered times at Cabarrus Arena. Cuthbertson, Parkwood and Weddington High Schools held their ceremonies at The Pointe Recreation and Community Center in Fort Mill, SC.

Forest Hills High School kept their ceremony at home, having it at the Forest Hills Jacket Stadium, while Marvin Ridge High School took its ceremony to Winthrop University Coliseum in Rock Hill, SC. Monroe High School graduates walked across the stage at Austin Auditorium in Wingate University.

The first school to graduate its seniors was Union County Early College, which mirrored the graduation schedule of the community college where it is housed. UCEC’s graduation ceremony was held on May 10, 2013 at the South Piedmont Community College Conference Center.

This was followed by Wolfe School’s graduation ceremony, which was held on June 3, 2013 at CATA. South Providence then held its ceremony on June 10, 2013, at South Providence Media Center.


This article was written by Deb Coates Bledsoe, Union County Public Schools Communications Coordinator and provided courtesy of the UCPS Communications Office.