The Stories

The most inspiring parts of Dropping Back In are the profiles of former dropouts, whose stories help you come to understand the issues they faced and how the people and institutions helped them drop back in and move on with their educations and lives. Dropping Back In is part of the Fast Forward learning system created to help address America's dropout crisis. If you or someone you know is ready to drop back in, check out Fast Forward's online study course for the high school equivalency test.
Academy of Hope

Academy of Hope

Located in one of the poorest areas of Washington D.C. with the highest dropout rates, Academy of Hope successfully creates a caring and supportive learning community. Since its founding in 1985, more than 560 adults have earned GED® diplomas through the Academy. Read More

Alexandria Seaport Foundation

Alexandria Seaport Foundation

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation boatbuilding apprentice program provides at-risk, underserved youth in the Washington D.C. area with hands-on work development training through building boats. Apprentices work alongside volunteers who teach them carpentry and construction as well as the skills they will need to live fulfilling, productive lives. Read More

Luis Arocha

Be a Good Steward to God’s People

Three years after agreeing to serve on the board, Luis Arocha never expected to be executive director of Cafe Hope in New Orleans, a three-month apprentice program in the restaurant industry that also helps struggling youth with life skills, basic reading, and mathematics. Arocha didn't expect to experience the satisfaction of helping to make a difference in someone's life. Watch Video

Brittany Albrecht

Brittany Albrecht

As lead teacher at Academy of Hope, a Washington D.C. adult learning center, Brittany Albrecht shares her experience and insight in working with undereducated adults, helping them meet their educational and career goals.Watch Video

Building to Teach

Building To Teach

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia teaches struggling young people, aged 18-24, math skills by giving them hands-on experience. Apprentices work alongside adult mentors learning carpentry skills as well as mathematics, all while building boats. Read More

Cafe Hope

Café Hope

Café Hope is a farm-to-table restaurant created to help young adults of the Greater New Orleans area develop self-sufficiency and feel valued. Approximately 70 percent of the apprentices who complete the Café Hope program find restaurant industry employment. Read More

Chance King Doyle

Chance King Doyle

Chance King Doyle, a former program director of Cafe Hope, a farm to table restaurant created to help young people in New Orleans develop self sufficiency. Cafe Hope was featured on an episode of the KET documentary series "Dropping Back In." Doyle, a former dropout himself, shares his story about a couple who took him in after Katrina and helped him turn his life around.
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Darren Alridge

Dropout to Mentor and Teacher: Darren Alridge, New Orleans

Darren Alridge says the love of the people who helped him get his GED diploma--from the judge who offered adult education classes as an alternative to prison to the teachers and tutors who helped him prepare--"wore" off on him so much that he had to pay it forward by mentoring struggling youth in alternative schools and teaching in the same program where he learned. "They overdosed me with it." Watch Video

Ebony Nava

Ebony Nava

Ebony Nava attended school only to the second grade—her parents pulled her out to home school, but they never did. In her late teens, she was encouraged by others who recognized her intelligence to earn a GED® credential and with that document in hand and the confidence it inspired, she gained custody of her siblings and enrolled in college. Read More

Hasan Davis

Hasan Davis

A youth advocate and former Kentucky Commissioner of Juvenile Justice, Hasan Davis faced many challenges as a child: family crises, learning disabilities, a pre-teen arrest, and multiple expulsions. Because of the encouraging faith of a former principal and his mother, he persevered, earned a GED® diploma, a bachelor’s degree at Berea College in Kentucky, and went on to get a law degree at the University of Kentucky. Read More

Jesse Fuentes

Helping Opportunity Youth Succeed

Jesse Fuentes is an alumnae of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School in Chicago, Illinois, a highly successful alternative school for students who have dropped out of traditional high schools that was featured in the national KET documentary series Dropping Back In. Jesse shares her story of overcoming difficult odds and getting her life back on track through the help of the teachers at PACHS. She is a college graduate and educator hoping to become a principal some day.
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James Hooten

James Hooten

James Hooten felt he hadn't accomplished much in life before graduating from YouthBuild Louisville, part of a national program that helps young people earn their high school diplomas or equivalencies while learning new skills and helping their communities. YouthBuild Louisville was featured on an episode of the KET documentary series "Dropping Back In." Hooten shares his experience with YouthBuild and how it helped him become a business owner and role model for his children. Visit DroppingBackIn.org to find out more about America's dropout crisis and how you can help.
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Judge Greg Mathis

Judge Greg Mathis

Greg Mathis, host of the Chicago-based syndicated TV program “Judge Mathis,” overcame the hopelessness and despair of growing up in poverty to earn a GED® diploma. He went on to earn a bachelor’s and law degree and was a district court judge in Detroit, Michigan. Read more

Hardt

Kellie Blair Hardt

Kellie Blair Hardt faced serious personal and educational challenges as a child. The daughter of an alcoholic parent, she was often homeless and in trouble at school, and she was ultimately expelled. Kellie finally found the path to a more stable life through Harpers Ferry Job Corps. In 2013, she was one of five teachers nationwide to receive the National Education Association’s Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence and is pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education with a focus on adults entering postsecondary education with alternative diplomas. She teaches special education math and science and uses her own story and an ever present, engaging sense of humor to inspire her students. Read More

Lake Area Technical Institute

Lake Area Technical Institute

The Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown, South Dakota is an award-winning institution focused on educating students and developing skills that make them job-ready upon graduation. Classes are small, interactive, and hands-on. Local employers are frequent visitors and contributors to class curricula, and students receive career guidance from day one. And they are successful—98 percent of LATI graduates are employed or continuing their education. Read More

Youth Build

Louisville YouthBuild

YouthBuild is a nationwide program that works with young people 16 to 24, helping them earn high school diplomas or equivalencies while learning job skills and improving their communities. Read More
Makers Coalition

Maker’s Coalition

The Makers Coalition is an outgrowth of resurgence in American production. Its focus is on training skilled workers for the cut-and-sew industry, a process that is making a positive difference in the lives of many who had been out of work for years and were struggling to get by in life. Read More

Nadia Young

Nadia Young – Lost in the Crowd

Nadia Young, a senior at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School in Chicago, a successful alternative school featured in the national KET documentary series Dropping Back In, talks about how she was falling through the cracks in a large, traditional school but got her education back on track at PACHS.
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Nicole Davis

Nicole Davis

Former student and current project manager for the Academy of Excellence program at Cabrillo College in Altos, California, Nicole Davis shares her story of how the ACE program helped her achieve success in college. Watch Video

Paul Maartense

Paul Maartense

Paul Maartense is a student at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. He shares his struggles in education and how the Academy for College Excellence program at Cabrillo helped him acquire the tools he needed to succeed in college. Watch Video

Pedro Albizu Campos High School

Pedro Albizu Campos High School

Located in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago, this school uses a cultural and community focus and individualized and holistic instructional philosophies to help young dropouts return to school and graduate. Read More
Tricia Amos

Tricia Amos

Tricia Amos of Peever, South Dakota faced a dysfunctional and abusive family situation before dropping out. She had been raped and found safety in a shelter when she learned of the FACE (Family and Child Education) program at Enemy Swim Day School, a program serving both parents and children, where she obtained a GED® credential. Read More

Victor Rios

In 1994, Victor Rios was introduced to the nation in a Frontline documentary as a gang member, a delinquent, and a high school dropout. Frontline met up again with Rios 18 years later and found that in the intervening years, Rios earned his high school diploma, finished college, earned a Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley, and wrote books on his life and on the school to prison pipeline, particularly for black and Latino boys. He now teaches sociology at the University of California Santa Barbara and helps at-risk youth navigate the perils of adolescence. He is also a family man with a wife and three children. Read More

Fast Forward: College and Career Ready

The path to success in gaining a GED® and career readiness can be found in Fast Forward: College and Career Ready — an innovative, highly effective, multi-platform learning system created by KET (Kentucky Educational Television.)

The Fast Forward learning system helps students get ahead with in-depth online courses in language arts, math, science, and social studies, as well as professional development resources for adult educators.

Learn more at www.ketfastforward.org

For more information about community engagement resources, contact:

adulted@ket.org

We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

800•354•9067

Fast Forward