High school drop outs are sadly common throughout the Navajo Reservation. We have an after school program full of students in both middle and high school. We have daily discussions explaining to them the effects of what dropping out of school can do to one's life. We participate in other activities such as fishing, camping, and attending scheduled events from different organizations such as the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project. In addition to awareness, we have had some of our GED students share their stories of struggle, hardship and inspiring words of wisdom to stay in school.
We asked the students in our after school program "Why do you think people drop out of school?" Their reasons included but not limited to:
1. Lack of Educational Support 2. Outside Influences - Peer pressure from other high school drop outs/family/friends and other outside relationships to drop out to join/be accepted into gangs, street communities, and other teen groups. 3. Special Needs - Examples: ADHD or dyslexia. Public high schools usually have overcrowded classrooms which fail to recognize the special needs of a specific student. 4. Financial Problems 5. Lack of Interest 6. Drug and Alcohol Abuse 7. Depression and Physical Illnesses 8. Physical Abuse 9. Teen Pregnancy 10. Alternative Lifestyles - Example: A teen who is introduced to drug dealing may view high school as a waste of time because, they don't need an education to sell drugs. However, a teen who views high school as an important aspect in their lives will think differently.
Our students throughout the reservation are very skilled and talented. We really want to decrease drop outs percentages every year. Parents, guardians, friends, and family please continue to encourage your children or someone you know who is struggling to keep their head up. Let them know that you are there for them in any time of need because when May comes around; Your child/friend/family member will be proud walking down the aisle dressed in their cap and gown ready to receive their diploma.
Stand up with us and prevent school drop outs and increase graduation rates through out the Navajo Reservation, nationwide, and worldwide. Education doesn't stop, so why should we?