Press Release
WKNO Celebrates Educators in the Mid-South

Press Contacts:
Teri L. Sullivan
WKNO-TV/Channel 10
(901) 729-8735

September 16, 2014
For Immediate Release

WKNO-TV Highlights the Efforts of Champions of Education in the Mid-South to Bring Attention to National Dropout Crisis

There is a nationwide dropout crisis that demands attention now. At the highest risk are urban, low-income students. Among big cities, Memphis (Shelby County Schools) has the 6th highest percentage of low-income students, and falls below the national high school graduation rate.

Saturday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on WKNO/Channel 10, American Graduate Day presents local and national programing, addressing the risks and solutions for the high school dropout crisis, and also highlighting the efforts of champions in education.

American Graduate Day helps us acknowledge the need in the community to reach students and ensure that they graduate from high school, with the hope that they continue their education,” said Michael J. LaBonia, WKNO President and CEO. “It also gives us an opportunity to recognize standout individuals who are paving the way to a brighter future.”

As part of the American Graduate initiative, WKNO-TV celebrates champions such as Esmeralda Martinez, a kindergarten teacher at Resurrection Catholic School of the Catholic Diocese Jubilee Schools; Gabriel Fosting, founder and CEO of The College Initiative; and NeShante Brown, the Executive Director of the Soulsvile Charter School in Memphis. Interviews with Martinez, Fosting, and Brown can be found online at

“I actually call my team here at Soulsville ‘pioneers’ on the forefront of the movement across the nation,” NeShante Brown said. “Individuals, groups are trying to figure out how to make sure that the ‘disadvantaged’ actually make it and we are committed to that.”

A new study conducted by the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins School of Education finds that the American Graduate initiative has succeeded in building community capacity to meet the national priority of ending America’s high school dropout crisis.

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is a long term commitment supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Public media plays a significant role in building individual activity, community capacity, and national awareness.

American Graduate Day airs Saturday, September 27 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on WKNO/Channel 10.

WKNO is a non-profit, private foundation serving the Mid-South for more than 58 years. An important community resource, WKNO uses the power of non-commercial public broadcasting to provide the Mid-South with quality educational and cultural programs that inform, entertain, and inspire.

For more information, visit or follow WKNO on Facebook @WKNO and @WKNO – 91.1 FM Memphis or on Twitter @wkno_tv and @wknofm.


Top Of Page