What an inspiration it was to read about Favor Mbaogu and 14 other teenage refugees who graduated from high school last week. ("Teenage refugees overcome obstacles to graduate in Utah," June 5.) Their stories of resilience demonstrate that, with hard work and the support of our families and communities, we can all overcome great obstacles.
Of course, it is also important to remember those who have not yet made it across the finish line. There is no hard data on refugee graduation rates in Utah, but the Utah Department of Education reports more than 50 percent of English language learners who began high school in 2007 dropped out before receiving a diploma.
We cannot leave these young neighbors behind. Dropouts are more likely to be jobless, homeless, reliant on social services or incarcerated — and that's one of the reasons why, even as tens of thousands of Utah students graduated from high school last week, Gov. Gary Herbert issued a proclamation declaring "Dropout Recovery Week in Utah." I am excited and encouraged by the governor's support for getting all students to graduation day. And I invite all Utahns to support efforts in their communities to turn dropouts into diploma holders.
Salt Lake City
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