Local School Accepts No Excuses for Poverty - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Local School Accepts No Excuses for Poverty

Principal Doug Curry, San Jacinto Elementary Principal Doug Curry, San Jacinto Elementary
Fifth Grader Xavier Maesta Fifth Grader Xavier Maesta

With growing numbers of poor children in Amarillo's classrooms. A local school is launching a new effort to convince kids that college is a dream worth pursuing. More than 18,000 kids in Amarillo schools are classified as economically disadvantaged. School officials expect that number to continue rising, but one school insists it's no excuse for students not to excel.

At fifth grader Xavier Maestas's school, 97% of the student body is considered economically disadvantaged. But principal Doug Curry wants him to look past that barrier....about seven years past that barrier. "We're about going to college... so even when we're talking about how you perform right now, it's not just your performance now but do you realize that these grades are not good enough to get you into college," Curry says. 

He notes San Jacinto is the first school in Texas to become what's called a "No Excuses University." It's a program introduced this year where teachers motivate students for college as early as kindergarten. "When you come to school with challenges and everyone does, whether you're low socioeconomic or whatever challenge you bring, we're simply saying that's not an excuse," says Curry. Every child on this campus has signed one of these pledges, promising to stay focused on their plan for college every day. Teachers say drilling the college idea is catching on with kids.

"Think it's important to start thinking about college so now that I'm still in elementary school I can try my hardest to get into college," says Xavier Maesta. "Our children are really starting to understand that college is really their options. It's not for somebody else, it is for them," says Xavier's teacher, Annette Akins. Next week, San Jacinto fifth graders are headed to West Texas A & M for a field trip for the first time.

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