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Wyoming PBS was selected to participate in the local production project "Stories of Champions", which provides companion pieces to the national broadcast of American Graduate Day 2015. Individuals chosen for the project needed to be able to demonstrate their commitment of keeping students on the path to graduation. This year's champions are Chad Ransom, Director of Second Language Services for Teton County School District; Bertine Bahige, Campbell County High School math teacher; and Diane Springford, Director of the Wyoming Shakespeare Festival Company. The Wyoming PBS Stories of Champions will be broadcast over the air and will be available to view online.

American Graduate Day 2015 returns this fall for its fourth consecutive year. Soledad O'Brien will host the all-day broadcast which premieres Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wyoming PBS. Broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City, the annual multiplatform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations. Featuring five hours of national and local programming, live interviews and performances, American Graduate Day 2015 will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and groups across the country who are American Graduate Champions: those helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.

American Graduate Day 2015 will be anchored by "Stories of Champions," a series of 14 one-minute profile pieces scheduled to air every half-hour, which will spotlight individuals and influential figures in local communities around the country who are successfully keeping students on the path to graduation. Wyoming PBS will spotlight Bertine Bahige, math teacher at Campbell County High School, and the work he's doing in the community to help kids stay in school until graduation. Bertine was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was kidnapped as a child in the early 90s, and forced to serve as a child soldier during the country's civil war. He escaped to a refugee camp two years later and, with the help of refugee resettlement initiatives coordinated by the United Nations, the federal government and nongovernmental organizations, was able to start a new life in America. Once stateside, Bertine found his way to the University of Wyoming where he studied math and received his degree in secondary education. Today, grateful for a new life, Bertine has found ways to make a difference with his High School students in Gillette.

Hosted by Soledad O'Brien, award-winning journalist, American Graduate Day 2015 is set up around critical themes with the goal of inspiring citizens to connect with their local public media station and local community organizations, and get involved as American Graduate Champions in helping the youth of their community succeed.

The key component of the event is the participation of the community-based organizations. Nearly 30 national partner organizations, 14 local organizations, and celebrity guests involved in education and youth intervention programs will be featured. A special goal for this year's event is also to attract one million new American Graduate Champions to take an active role in volunteering their time, talent, or other resources to help put kids on a path to success.


Wyoming PBS Stories of Champions, 2014

Angie Shcultz, Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy; Craig Ferris, Wyoming Indian High School; Sandy Barton, Fremont County BOCES