WCNY Aims to Keep Kids in School

September 16, 2011 by

SYRACUSE -- Public broadcaster WCNY wants local kids to say "Yes to Success." That's the name of a new multi-platform campaign geared at encouraging students to remain in high school through graduation. One of the most prominent efforts of the campaign is a 30-minute TV special, set to be recorded live this Monday at a local school, for broadcast starting later next week.

WCNY-TV crews will be on location at Clary Magnet School in Syracuse, where students from that school and three other Syracuse middle schools will form the live audience for the "Yes to Success" program. A panel including a high school dropout and a "Say Yes to Education" scholar will compare their experiences. They'll be joined by a mentoring expert and a top official from Say Yes to Education.

WCNY explains the program will be geared mostly towards middle school students because studies say most students who drop out of school make the decision to do so during their middle school years. WCNY says, in the Syracuse City School District specifically, the graduation rate has fallen to 45 percent.

The "Yes to Success" TV special will air at 9pm on Thursday, September 22 on WCNY 24.1 and 24.4. It will rerun on Sunday, September 25 at 2pm on channel 24.1.

Following the live taping on Monday, presenters will open up the floor to Q&A with students in the audience. While the Q&A session won't be televised on WCNY, it will be recorded and made available through a special "Yes to Success" area of the WCNY website at, starting on Monday, September 26.

Full Press Release Submitted by WCNY



SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Sept. 15, 2011) – High schools in many Central New York communities are seeing a dip in graduation rates. Urban schools in particular are struggling to find ways to keep kids in school. The Syracuse City School District high school graduation rate, for example, is just 45 percent.

To call attention to this critical issue, encourage students to stay in school, and inform the community about ways it can support students, WCNY-TV/FM in Syracuse has created a “Yes to Success’’ campaign that includes a television show, after-school programs, web pages, and television, radio and social media messages featuring young people.

The television program, also called “Yes to Success,’’ will be recorded Monday, Sept. 19, before a live audience at Clary Magnet School in Syracuse. The audience will include middle school students from four Syracuse schools: Clary, Hughes, Huntington and Westside Academy at Blodgett.

Why middle schoolers? Research has shown that often the decision to drop out of school is made during the middle school years, particularly in eighth grade.

The 30-minute program will feature an in-depth discussion among four panelists, including Rosita Pagan, a high school dropout who is now working on her EDP (external diploma program); and Jaquar Sampson, a Nottingham High School graduate and Say Yes to Education scholar who’s currently a college student. Pagan and Sampson will share their experiences and discuss the importance of getting an education.

The other panelists are Larry Williams, director of the Syracuse City School District’s mentoring program, which is one way community members can assist students; and Pat Driscoll, director of operations for the Syracuse chapter of Say Yes to Education, who will talk about one of the rewards of getting a high school diploma – a free college education through Say Yes to Education.

Akua Goodrich, a grants procurement specialist for the Syracuse City School District and co-founder of the Power Unit for Motivating Youth organization, will serve as host and moderator. “Yes to Success” will air at 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, on WCNY channels 24.1 and 24.4 (HD), and again at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, on 24.1.

A question-and-answer session with students will follow the program, and the Q & A session and television program will be available starting Monday, Sept. 26, on WCNY’s “Yes to Success’’ web pages on

The web pages are where community members can learn how they can get involved, parents can find helpful tips on keeping their kids in school, and students can find information on the free after-school programs presented by Syracuse City School District graduates who will help students understand the link between education and career opportunities.

WCNY received a grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and the National Center for Media Engagement to create this multimedia campaign aimed at encouraging Syracuse middle school students to stay in school. As part of its “Yes to Success’’ campaign, WCNY will ask middle school students to sign a pledge to stay in school, hoping they’ll see that education is the springboard for lifelong success. The pledge form and an explanatory video will be available on the web pages.

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