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Graduation coaches help with everything from homework to home - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Graduation coaches help with everything from homework to home life

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. -

They're called graduation coaches and they make sure your child comes to school, finishes their homework and does whatever it takes to get a high school diploma.

"In some way or another, I can be a resource to any student in the building," says Katrissa Fisher, a graduation coach at South Central High School in Winterville.

But her work extends beyond the classroom.

"I also can get a little more personal with social issues, emotional issues, financial issues, anything that a high school student is going through," she says.

Fisher works with a team that includes a social worker, a school nurse, an attendance specialist and an at-risk counselor. Together, they ensure students like Brooke Schoen stay on track.

"It makes you feel like there's really someone holding you up and knowing you can do what your dreams are," Schoen says.

They also make senior Glen Hill's dreams of being the first in his family to graduate a goal within reach.

"They make sure I do everything I need to do to get out of here, and make everybody proud," he says.

Administrators credit the federally-funded program with increasing the school's graduation rate by 30 percent over the past four years. In 2009, it was 55.1 percent. Now, it's at 85.1 percent – the highest in Pitt County and nearly three points higher than the state-wide rate.

"If they want to graduate badly enough, they can make it happen," says South Central High School Principal Julie Cary. "We don't make it happen for them, but we provide opportunities for them to take advantage of."

As for Fisher, she says it's the bond with her students she cherishes most, making her feel like a proud parent on graduation day.

"There are no words that can describe that," she says. "I am all smiles at graduation."

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