By James Hoang and Garnel Mays
According to the faculty of Oakland High School, at least 19% of OHS students have dropped out of school in the past 4 years due to family problems, gang involvement, drug abuse, or other reasons.
Many students become high school dropouts if they lack the desire to not do any work in class, nor be at school even though it is the law to attend school every single day. Most students who drop out are in sophomore through senior year.
While most students enroll at Oakland High as freshmen, some of them don’t stay long enough at this school to graduate. Students with family problems usually leave school due to moving to another area or transferring to a different school, arguing with family, or having other problems in their daily lives.
According to Catherine Darwish, French teacher, once students get involved with gangs, they don’t take school seriously anymore. Darwish said these students start committing criminal activity on the streets and outside of Oakland High, such as vandalism, robbing people or stores of their items, and taking drugs that are very harmful to the human body. Some students aren’t able to focus enough in a classroom, and they need to just do whatever they want and skip their classes. Students who overuse drugs and alcohol can permanently mess up their bodies, minds, and even their own lives. Dropouts tend to make bad decisions in their lives once they leave high school and stop what they’re doing all together.
“From what I can tell, most of the dropout students end up in poverty,” explained Darwish. “They start wasting their lives, being depressed, abusing alcohol, or taking advantage of others when they can’t do anything else.”
Dropout students have lower economic gains than high school graduates.
According to ets.org, a high school dropout will make $375,000 less in their lifetime than an individual with a diploma. Dropouts are also more likely to turn to drugs and crime and less likely to receive a job based on their health insurance. Based on the facts researched by Cintia Quiroga, PhD student for psychology at the University of Ottawa, dropout students go into depression and may regret dropping out of school and not getting a diploma. It is due to these reasons that OHS faculty and programs, such as the Wellness Center, are working hard to keep students from leaving.
“The Wellness Center provides after school programs and tutoring to help give students a reason to stay in school,” said Pearn Arias, operations coordinator of the Wellness Center. “The after school tutoring provides assistance in academics and helps them get enough their classes so they can achieve better grades in order to graduate. The after school programs provide activities that will get students to enjoy their time in school.”
Sometimes, students drop out of school after being incarcerated or in some other way being separated from the school environment.
Danielle Atkins, age 23, dropped out of school because she was incarcerated at a juvenile hall facility in the state of Arizona when she was 16 years old. By the time she was released from juvenile hall, she was 18 years old and graduated high school at the age of 20.
Students considering dropping out of Oakland High can seek help from after school programs or participate in club activities to get them interested in school.