Education in our area is undergoing a change - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Education in our area is undergoing a change

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Amarillo, TX- Education in our area is undergoing a change. A change which aims to bring families out of poverty.

The No Limits, No Excuses initiative is making a difference on our community. Poverty and lack of education are two on-going challenges Amarillo faces.

Over twenty area partners of the No Limits, No Excuses initiative are trying to break that cycle.

That's why the Amarillo Partners for Postsecondary Success, an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the neighborhood strategy today.

"I want to be a OB/GYN or a brain surgeon," says Mykala Owensby, 5th grade student at San Jacinto Elementary.

"I want to be a lawyer and graduate from Harvard," says D'andre Gonzalez, 5th grade student at San Jacinto Elementary.

They are just two students in our area who are being told that those dreams can come true, no matter what obstacles they face.

"It's because we're a No Excuses campus. So there's no excuses, so that we could be successful and have a successful career," says D'andre Gonzalez, 5th grade student at San Jacinto Elementary.

"So we can go to college and it's no excuses. It's a way to be successful," says Mykala Owensby, 5th grade student at San Jacinto Elementary.

"We have challenges but we have the people and the resources to overcome those challenges. In Amarillo, 65-percent of school children qualify for free and reduced lunches. In Amarillo, there are 19-percent of individuals who have never completed their GED or their high school diploma," says Katharyn Wiegand, Amarillo Partners for Postsecondary Success.

The initiative focuses on reaching out to children at an early age; encouraging them to graduate from high school, go to college and get a degree.

The entire family is encouraged to be on that same path.

"Creating these pathways like right here at San Jacinto Elementary, where people can come to a familiar place and receive GED training and then find out about how easy it is to go on to a community college or Wes Texas A&M University, that's the pathway they need to get to better jobs and to get out of poverty," says Katharyn Wiegand, Amarillo Partners for Postsecondary Success.

This initiative is expected to have long term effects, one's that could impact our community for the better.

"For those people who say, this doesn't affect me, well if you're dealing with a community that's dealing with an increase in poverty then it totally affects you. How do we reverse that trend? We start with a long view, that starts when kids enter kindergarten so we can put out kids who are college ready, educated and can add revenue back into the system," says Damen Lopez, No Excuses University Network of Schools. 

This is the first of a series of stories we will be airing on the No Limits, No Excuses initiative.

Tuesday we will take a look at what schools and neighborhoods are the first to begin helping area families.