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AMERICAN GRADUATE: Apryl Shackelford

Jacksonville Public Education Fund

"My name is Apryl Shackelford and I am now a specialist with the Parent Academy.  I was previously an intensive reading teacher at Northwestern Middle School.  I am Duval County’s Teacher of the Year."

"I have a very unique story: I was a high school drop-out.  I did not go back to get my high school diploma or G.E.D. until age 31.  By then I had already had two children and one day I woke up and said, “Oh my goodness.  What will my children have to look up to? What will they role model after?”  And then it was a reality check of—what do I really want?"

"The G.E.D, I know when I was coming up, they were saying that’s not a high school diploma.  But it is, and it was to me.  And I worked hard to get it.  And I was excited about it."

"I look back now and I kind-of smile because I say G.E.D. and I hold a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice, a Masters (Degree) in Education and (I’m) half-way through a Ph.D. in Education."

"It opens a door.  You determine what you do with that G.E.D. and it’s just a stepping stone to one thing: our children today need to know that that G.E.D. can get them ready for the real world. They can go on to do great things."

89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.