American Graduate Champion: Grant Thomas

KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

grant-thomasToday’s Champion is Grant Thomas. Thomas is founder of the Peer Assistance and Leadership Program, a life-long educator and an innovator. After years of teaching high school, Thomas established the original PAL program (Peer Assistance and Leadership) in AISD in 1980. The PAL program was a unique model at the time, sharing many aspects of the current Social-Emotional Learning curriculum with a focus on peer modeling, mentoring, service, social understanding and problem-solving. PAL became a widely implemented national model. In 1994 Grant created the nonprofit YouthLaunch, and served there as Executive Director for nine years. He also continues to be active in KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Austin, and is currently involved in a collaboration between KIPP and UT Austin Plan II to develop mentoring partnerships. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Grant Thomas’s passion for empowering young people is life-long and contagious, as is his high-energy, charismatic personality. This passion, combined with expertise gleaned from years of graduate study in education, experiences as a teacher, community activist, and program innovator, makes Grant an inspired and inspiring difference-maker. His work in the field has helped countless young people build both academic and social success.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.