Could a bad economy keep more students in school? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Could a bad economy keep more students in school?

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some high school students may have been convinced to stay in school because of the troubled economy.

Students who drop out these days will have a tougher time finding a job that means graduation numbers are up at many high schools.

112 more students are graduating this year from Dougherty County High Schools.

"A lot of students work very hard to stay in school," said Terry McKay.

McKay is the Director of Guidance at Westover High.

"We have students this year who are going to Yale, we've got them going to Cornell," said McKay.

But for various reasons, some students won't be able to further their education.

"Well you always have some to drop out. I think we're lucky here at Westover, we may have ten or so," said McKay.

At All American Fun Park they hire young people for seasonal work.

"But now young people they have to compete with more adults for those jobs," said George Humes, Manager.

People were lined up at a recent job fair at the Fun Park, and many of the applicants weren't teenagers.

"A lot of people who are applying are people who never went to college and now are trying to find another job," said Lauren Owens.

Owens has been working at the Fun Park for four years.

"I know a couple of people that have," said Owens.

She's graduating next week from Lee County High school, and knows some teenagers who dropped out.

Quitting school wasn't an option for her.

"If you're able to stick through four years of high school and then four more years of college, you're going to be able to stick with a job," said Owens.

McKay says for those who do drop out or don't go to a four year college, there are other options.

"They're either going to do one of two things; they're either going to go into the workforce, and a lot of them, we try and encourage them to go out into the technical college because the technical degree will allow them to make a lot more money," said McKay.

"If you drop out of school right now with the economy the way it is, then it's not going to get any better for you," said Owens.

Graduation numbers are up at each of Dougherty County's four high schools.

Countywide, 16 percent more students will graduate this year.

Those ceremonies will be Saturday at the Albany Civic Center.

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