WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education Celebrates Student Stories of Hope, Resilience and Success

For more information, contact:
Alina Martinet, Communications Specialist, 216/916-6136

January 19, 2016 (Cleveland, OH) – WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education, will host an American Graduate Celebration of Champions event at the Idea Center® at Playhouse Square, Wednesday, January 20, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  High School students from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District were invited to submit stories reflecting on a challenge they faced in school and how they overcame it with the support of a “Champion” – someone in the community that helped them stay in school and continue learning. ideastream received 161 submissions – many were written, and some included audio and video recordings, original paintings, sculpture and poetry. The Celebration of Champions honors both the students and the American Graduate Champions who helped them achieve their goals and will award $10,000 in donated prizes and scholarships to 30 students at the event. The event supports collaboration with CMSD’s “Get To School. You Can Make It!” attendance campaign.

Judge Michael Ryan of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division will serve as keynote speaker.  Having experienced many challenges growing up, he went on to attend Allegheny College with a scholarship and eventually law school. Ryan became the youngest African-American male to be elected to the Cleveland Municipal Court, and in 2012 he was elected judge to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division. He was only the second African-American male to hold the position and the youngest.

“This event gives voice to students across the city who face enormous personal, social and academic challenges every day,” said Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. “We are grateful to ideastream for honoring our scholars for their courage and determination and for recognizing those who are helping them stay in school and graduate.”

“The story submissions considered four challenge areas for students: social, academic, emotional and physical, and looked for how the entry showed where students, if given the right support, can flourish,” added Linda Williams, Senior Director, Education, at ideastream. ”This American Graduate Celebration of Champions event is all about raising community awareness and generating remedies that support children in Northeast Ohio and capitalize on innovative solutions to mitigating the dropout dilemma.” The top 31 submissions will be available on ideastream.org.

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high-need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions. Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1,000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell's America's Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District envisions 21st Century Schools of Choice where students will be challenged with a rigorous curriculum that considers the individual learning styles, program preferences and academic capabilities of each student, while utilizing the highest-quality professional educators, administrators and support staff available.

The mission of ideastream is to strengthen our communities. ideastream pursues its mission as a multiple media public service organization by providing distinctive, thought-provoking programs and services that enlighten, inspire, educate and entertain.

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