10/16/11 — WEMCH recognized for 100 percent graduation rate

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WEMCH recognized for 100 percent graduation rate

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 16, 2011 1:50 AM

Wayne Early/Middle College High School has again been recognized for having a 100 percent graduation rate.

Principal Lee Johnson, schools superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor and school board chairwoman Thelma Smith attended ceremonies in Raleigh, where 23 schools made the "100% Graduation Club" list.

The announcement also included the list of districts and individual schools with the highest four-year cohort graduation rates during the 2010-11 school year. Ten districts and 32 high schools made that list.

This is the second time Wayne Early/Middle has been recognized at the state level, but not just the second time for the accomplishment.

Since the school opened on the Wayne Community College campus in the fall of 2006, it has met the challenge nearly every year.

"The first year we had one student that did not graduate on time with us," explained Mrs. Johnson. "I don't know if he went back to finish or not, but other than that we have had 100 percent for five years. We're going into our sixth year now."

Mrs. Johnson said every effort is made to ensure every student at the school graduates.

"Throughout the year we have a 'watch list,' who we're concerned about that may have a problem," she said. "We work real close to them.

"It sounds so cliche but not to graduate -- not an option. We just don't take 'no' for an answer."

Not that it's an easy task, the principal admits. She recalled one student who hadn't completed her graduation project, a requirement before receiving that high school diploma, and the date for the commencement ceremony was drawing near.

"We kept calling her, even went to where she worked," Mrs. Johnson said, crediting teachers and staff with diligently assisting the student until everything was done.

"We just work with them individually and we know, we don't wait until the last minute to find out they're not going to graduate."

The school has a bit of an advantage, though, being smaller than most area high schools, she pointed out. Currently, 273 students are enrolled at Wayne Early/Middle, which encompasses grades 9-12, including 17 fifth-year seniors, many of whom are simultaneously earning college credit from WCC.

"We work hard to make sure everybody walks across the stage," she said. "The whole staff, it's a whole staff effort, and the kids even encourage each other."