Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Soaring Penguins Graduating from High School
On previous "I want to know Wednesdays" I've been asking a lot of questions about this year's NHL Playoffs. I want to let you know that I have decided on cheering for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since my hometown team is out, most of my playoff support decisions are based on DinoMights relationships. I was really pulling for Willie Mitchell and Vancouver (even though they are a rival of the Wild) because Willie was a good friend of our program while he was here. They lost, so I had to find a new team. The Penguins vs. Capitals series was an absolute gem, and I started pulling for Alex Ovechkin and the Caps. There is a great video on NHL.com of Ovechkin visiting our friends in the Hockey is for Everyone Initiative, Fort Dupont Hockey Club of Washington D.C.. Alas, they lost too. Finally, my choice came down to this: do I root for Detroit, because we visited Detroit for the Hockey the Hood Tournament. Or, do I go with my gut and cheer on the young Pittsburgh Penguins that everyone seems to think are the future of the NHL? Then I remembered, "Bill Guerin of the Penguins posed for a picture with some DinoMights during the 2004 All-Star Weekend in St. Paul, MN!" That clinched it.
And that leads to my questions for the day . . .
1) I want to know how high these kids can soar!
Pictured with Bill Guerin are Tryphena, Rhomina, Jessica, Cesar, Kelsey, Rhobelle, and Aaron. They are 19-21 years old now (I can't believe it). Every single one of them has graduated from high school. Six of them have attended some kind of college or university (If any of you are reading, leave a "where are you now" on the comments). One is abroad doing military service. They are working, serving, valuable members of their communities!
2) I want to know why beautiful kids like these are the exception rather than the rule.
I often quote an article titled Mixed Reviews for State's Graduation Rates, by James Walsh from the Minneapolis Star Tribune (June 12, 2007) in my grant applications. According to Walsh less than 10% of non-high school graduates earn more than $35,672 annually and most of those are concentrated in the lowest earning bracket with a median income of just $12,638. That is not a living wage for the 58% or African American and 36% of Asian students that do not graduate high school in Minnesota.
At the present time we are celebrating a 3rd straight year of 100% graduation. It was Cesar, Kelsey, Rhobelle, Aaron, and Rhomina's class that got us started on this perfect roll. It may not last forever, but I'm confident the last three classes are strong evidence that DinoMights provides some of the sparks that make a lasting impact.