WARSAW — Gradway hosted its first open house and auction this afternoon, April 29, at Creighton’s Crazy Egg. The event included an introduction to the program, a keynote speaker, a silent auction and a live auction.
Gradway helps combat dropout rates in all of Kosciusko County’s middle and high schools. Gradway coaches are matched with at-risk students and help them combat any barriers they face regarding graduation. The program has been very successful during its seven years in existence. In 2009, the county graduation rate was 74 percent. In 2016, with help from the program the county graduation rate rose to 92 percent.
Connie, a high school dropout, was the main speaker at the event. She dropped out of high school twice as a student. She then struggled to live as a single mother with two children and no education. She eventually went on to earn her GED and a college degree. Today she teaches adult basic education in an adult men’s prison in Michigan City.
“People who drop out of high school are not necessarily bad kids,” explained Connie. “My story is not unique at all. These kids need support before they get out of school. They need to know they’re not alone.”
Connie expressed the importance of programs like Gradway and the greater importance to donate to these programs. After Connie spoke, the live auction was held followed by the closing of the silent auction. Every dollar raised from the auctions supports the Gradway coaching program.
Gradway was able to serve 245 students in the 2015-2016 thanks to numerous donations and help from the community. People who were not able to make it to the event but still want to support the mission of Gradway can donate online.