Local School Not Taking Any Excuses from Students or Teachers

San Jacinto Elementary Principal Doug Curry
San Jacinto Elementary Principal Doug Curry
No Excuses University Founder Damen Lopez
No Excuses University Founder Damen Lopez

by: Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - With the high school drop out problem in Texas worsening every year, one local elementary school is doing their part to reverse the trend. NewsChannel 10's Kristen Guilfoos has more on San Jacinto's "No Excuses University" program.

San Jacinto Elementary in Amarillo is the first school in Texas to sign up for the national program. It not only lets kids know they have the right to graduate high school and go on to college, but it shows them how to get there as well.

Caitlin Hernandez may only be in fifth grade, but she already has big plans for the future. "Texas Tech. I want to be a lawyer."

She's one of hundreds at San Jacinto Elementary who are told daily that those dreams can become a reality.

Principal Doug Curry says, "Our kids don't always choose how they grow up or where they grow up in that way and we wanted to make sure we've done everything we could to make sure they knew what college could offer them."

Every classroom at San Jacinto has adopted a major college or university... everything from UT to Baylor to schools outside of Texas like LSU or The Citadel.

Their main focus is to let the students know they shouldn't let being poor or being a minority stand in their way of getting those diplomas.

The program's founder was in town from California on Thursday, talking to AISD principals.

Damen Lopez says, "We have to break the cycle of under education and poverty in our society. And to do that we can't wait until 9th grade, we need to start when these children are five or six years old."

Curry says the program is working... Since they joined two years ago, the school has gone from acceptable to recognized to exemplary, by Texas Education Agency standards.