'American Graduate Day 2015' highlights champions, commitment to youth | American Graduate (Main)

'American Graduate Day 2015' highlights champions, commitment to youth

Last Updated by WNET on

American Graduate Day 2015 celebrated more than 4.1 million American Graduate Champions across the country who are working in the 52 partner organizations featured and focused on helping youth stay on track to high school graduation. The broadcast reached 85% of US households and generated over 140 million Twitter impressions of the #AmGrad hashtag. 

Special guests includedFirst Lady Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush, General & Mrs. Colin Powell, Shaquille O’Neal, Allison Williams, Jason Derulo, Dolly Parton, Zendaya and many other leading voices.

"It was an exciting and emotional experience to spend seven hours highlighting the exciting and generous ways people are reaching out to students," said award-winning journalist and American Graduate Day 2015 host Soledad O'Brien. "Getting that message out was so valuable. The next step is for people to engage with both students and these organizations to ensure every student has a life of opportunity and success."

As part of the national public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, American Graduate Day shined a spotlight on local efforts across the country. This fourth annual multiplatform event featured content from more than 50 public media stations nationwide, who contributed Stories of Champions, mini-documentaries and live remote segments. More than 2,000 people visited the “Seven Simple Steps” online feature to learn how to become an American Graduate Champion themselves. 

By the close of the broadcast, American Graduate Day 2015 had successfully recognized the 4,196,760 American Graduate Champions working in organizations across the county to keep kids on the path to graduation. To calculate this number, each of the 52 local, regional, and national nonprofits profiled on the program were asked to provide the number of volunteers and professionals in their organizations that are working specifically to improve students’ education.

Highlights Leading Up to American Graduate Day 2015:

•    Representatives from WNET, CPB and the Nine Network of Public Media rang the NASDAQ closing bell on Friday, August 28, 2015, to kick off a month-long engagement campaign around American Graduate Day.

•  On Wednesday, September 16, the Empire State Building was lighted blue and white in honor of American Graduate Day. The indie band Echosmith, ambassadors from VH1 Save the Music Foundation, made a special appearance to support the foundation, which is a featured American Graduate Day 2015 partner.

•  WNET and CPB hosted an Atlantic Exchange event in Washington D.C., featuring a discussion between Steve Clemons, The Atlantic’s Washington Editor-at-Large, and Jim Shelton, former Deputy Secretary of Education and Chief Impact Officer at 2U.  The event was live-streamed via AtlanticLIVE and attended in-person by more than 100 education leaders.