Students help curve Amarillo ISD's dropout rates

AMARILLO, TX - One of the worst-kept secrets in the Texas Panhandle is that too many high school students are dropping out before they earn their diplomas.

Amarillo ISD is hoping to change that with a plan involving their own students.

Five students in Miss. Hudspeth's multi-media class at Amarillo High recently created a video to persuade their fellow classmates to stay in school.

"If you're struggling or failing one class, personally dropping out is not an option for me," says Karli Shafer.

Sadly, some feel that's their only option.

"It's an issue in our city and it's something our folks in Amarillo are concerned about," Amarillo ISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton said.

While the state dropout rate has declined over the last few years, Amarillo ISD's numbers show a slight increase.

So with that data, emerged an idea.

"We wanted to ask our students to create videos for their peers about staying in school," Shelton said.

About 20 videos all together were created by students all across the district.

"We made our own music and edited our own stuff," Angelo Mincey said. "Everything was done by us."

"I think just by putting up the statistics, we're hoping it's going to make people realize that dropping out is a real problem," Shafer said.

The PSA's range from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Voting is taking place online right now and will close Dec. 31.

To view all the videos, log onto and click on the "Student Video Contest" icon.

Below is a list of Amarillo ISD's dropout rates between 2008 and 2010.

The following data was provided by Amarillo ISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton:

Annual Dropout Rate (Grades 7-12)

Amarillo ISD: 2008-2009: 1.7%

2009-2010:  1.8%

Texas:          2008-2009: 2.0%

2009-2010  1.7%