American Graduate Champion: JP Rodriguez

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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.

jp-rodriguezToday’s Champion is JP Rodriguez! JP has been a volunteer for Communities in Schools in Austin for 19 years. He dedicates one hour a week to meet one-on-one with students to help them succeed in school, graduate from high school and go on to achieve in life.

His nominator, Debra Joiner, says, ”JP’s service exemplifies the Communities In School’s model of bringing the community into the school to surround students with support. As a mentor, JP doesn’t preach to the kids because, he believes, ‘it doesn’t take many words’ to impart his core message: ‘I want to be your friend, and I’m here because I want you to understand that education is important.’”

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.

American Graduate Champion: Dr. Sterling Lands II

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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.

sterling-landsToday’s Champion is Dr. Sterling Lands II! Sterling is an archbishop, teacher, motivator and role model. He spreads the Word of God and teaches others about improving our modern society.

His nominator, Reginald Shawn Terrell, Jr., says, “This man has made a significant difference in his daily life. Ever since he founded the Greater Calvary Bible Church, he created a change for many African American families and communities. He even obtained numerous awards from many people such as the mayor of Austin, AISD, and many others. To this day, he is changing the world for how it is to benefit society.”

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.

American Graduate Champion: Maria Martin Del Campo

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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.

maria-campoToday’s Champion is Maria Martin Del Campo! Maria is a Spanish teacher at LBJ Early College High School. She works hard with her students every day to ensure their success.

Cesar Alonso, a student at LBJ High School, says, “She motivates us even in the small things she does. For example, by just asking us how our day is going.”

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.

American Graduate Champion: Sugar Ray Destin, Jr.

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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.

ray-destinToday’s Champion is Sugar Ray Destin, Jr.! Sugar Ray is a motivational speaker and co-founder of the Claim your Destiny Foundation, which offers leadership, tutoring and mentoring programs. He is a huge advocate for the youth and teaching them how to develop into young leaders while giving back to the community.

Sugar Ray speaks at schools, after school programs and conferences and hosts a leadership program for youth, and his foundation is working with local school districts and colleges to plan its first Youth College Prep Conference.

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.

American Graduate Champion: Constable Maria Canchola

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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.

constable-maria-cancholaToday’s Champion is Constable Maria Canchola! Maria is a community leader and mentor in Austin. She developed a mentor group for at-risk Hispanic students, and she continues to get involved in preventing truancy and students dropping out of school, while assisting the community and advocating for children and their families.

Maria’s nominator, Rosalinda R. Villarreal, says, “Maria continues to empower our families by inviting guest speakers to the group, who motivate and emphasize success for their children and themselves. Our parents have gained the confidence they need to actively participate in their child’s/teen’s education. Among the great successes of this group, parents have become more self-sufficient, positive leaders.”

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.

American Graduate Champion: Rodolfo Mendez

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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.

rodolfo-mendezToday’s Champion is Rodolfo Mendez! Rodolfo, or Rudy, is a community leader and mentor in Austin. He has taught folkloric dance and modern ballet to thousands of kids who wouldn’t normally have this experience helping them improve their self-esteem, grades and goal setting. His achievements include founding Ballet East Dance Company in 1978, dancing with the national companies of Costa Rica and Chile through the Peace Corps and being inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame.

Laura Donnelly, co-founder of Latinitas magazine, says, “Rudy was born and raised on the east side of Austin and built his resume from the ground up. He brought his success as a dancer outside of Austin back to his neighborhood of origin – connecting young Latinos with the arts and in turn – helping them feel good about themselves.”

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.

American Graduate Champion: Natalie Cannon

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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.

natalie-cannonToday’s Champion is Natalie Cannon! Natalie is a Latin teacher at Westlake High School. Natalie takes Latin above and beyond any regular classroom teaching trough her use of electronic media, and she has changed learning from reading out of a textbook to exploring Latin in new and boundless ways.

Matthew Kearney, a student at Westlake High School, gives an example of how Natalie uses media to teach. “This year we watched a short film on Roman History. Instead of having us take notes on paper, she had us post tweets about the movie, tagging them so that other people in our class could read and respond to them. She employed this so that we could ask each other questions and help one another better understand the information being presented in the movie.”

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.

An Eastside Education premieres June 23rd

You’ve probably heard of Eastside Memorial High School before, but not like this. This story follows one semester at the most talked about school in one of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods as teachers, parents, administrators, and students fight to meet state accountability standards or watch their school be closed.

Click here on June 23 to watch the six-part digital series from KLRU­-TV, Austin PBS.
Sign up here to be notified when the story is published.

American Graduate Champion: David Robb

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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.

david-robbToday’s Champion is David Robb! David is a journalism teacher at Pflugerville High School. He develops his students’ abilities to become stronger journalists and provides experience and insight on all of their projects to further their growth.

Kennedy Huff, a student at Pflugerville High School, says, “Within the three years that I’ve known him with his help I’ve gone from a student to a hardworking journalist. Robb helps students pursue their passions for storytelling. The students are fully engaged in the creative process, and David Robb takes that one step further. He inspires students to become more than they ever thought possible.”

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.

American Graduate Champion: Samuel Hernandez

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.

Screen shot 2015-06-04 at 10.37.12 AMToday’s Champion is Samuel Hernandez! This video shows students at Cedar Ridge High School, telling why Hernandez, a football coach, is their American Graduate Champion. The letter from student Kahli McQuitty says “Coach Hernandez has been there for me since I joined the school. As the ‘new kid’ I had to overcome many obstacles and he was there every step of the way, always with a smile on his face. Coach Hernandez is not only constantly encouraging me during football, but also to raise my grades and improve my academic life. He is easy to talk to and get advice from.”

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.