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There are more than 50,000 students in continuation high schools in California. These kids are at high-risk of dropping out. They’re behind in credits or may need a flexible schedule. While the requirements to graduate from alternative schools are the same, the scheduling is more accommodating and faster paced. It’s the last chance for these students to graduate.

In spite of these benefits, 60% of continuation high school students were chronically absent last year. Studies show that high school dropouts have lower earnings and higher incarceration rates. If our schools had more arts programs, attendance would increase.

Thanks to the Mockingbird Foundation, which is funded by fans of the band Phish, they donated $5,000 to provide a guitar workshop at Cheviot Hills Continuation School. From February 21 to May 15, Create Now provided 10 students there with acoustic guitar classes.

Dr. Mary Reid Gaudio, the Principal at Cheviot Hills High exclaimed, “The kids loved the program! It helped all the students to commit to coming to school. It turned around Frida, Jonathan, Tylynn, Ahja and Destiny for sure! Thanks so much for this wonderful program!”

Destiny remarked, “This was an awesome experience! I can’t wait to learn more.” Jose expressed, “I really got into it. Anybody who’s scared to do something should just go and do it.”

Alex shared, “I loved playing in front of my teachers. I want to thank everyone for letting me participate in this wonderful program.” Tylynn declared, “It made me feel kind of calm and it also felt like an accomplishment because I tried something out of my comfort zone!”

Watch this short video about the program: