Crew boat captain dropped out of high school

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POSTED: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 6:16pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 8:55pm

A new report says Louisiana is the worst in the nation when it comes to high school dropouts. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana says the state’s graduation rate is just 67%.

One of the biggest concerns for students that have dropped out is that they won’t find jobs without a high school diploma.

David Keith dropped out of high school five years ago. “I was just one of those people that waited around for something to be handed to me,” he says.

He blames lack of motivation for his decision. “I questioned a lot about why I would ever need this,” he says. “I’m not the best learner around, so it was just hard for me during school. I wasn’t making the best grades.”

He says if he had received more support from teachers, he might have stuck around to graduate. “If teachers got more hands-on with the students, and went through everything with them, and worked on certain things here and there, it would be easier,” he says.

Five years later, Keith has his GED and he’s a crew boat captain on the Mississippi River. “I really lucked out being one of the people that dropped out and ended up in a job like this,” he says.

Keith makes $50,000 a year doing a job that he enjoys, but it wasn’t easy to get where he is. “It shows that you have to do work for what you want,” he explains.

Now, Keith says he’s worried for students that have called the quits on their education. “I would like to see more kids stay in school because in this economy like this you need a degree,” he says. “My story is just one of thousands and this is something that just will not happen to everyone. Stay in school.”

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