American Graduate Day 2015 on KUAC TV & Fairbanks Stories of Champions


American Graduate Day

American Graduate Day airs on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. AST on KUAC TV. The seven-hour live broadcast from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center celebrates the exceptional work of individuals and groups in the local community and around the country whose daily heroics help youth stay on the path to graduation.

More than 80 public radio and television stations across 40 states including KUAC, have joined forces with over 1400 partners and at-risk schools to shed light on the problem and share solutions. Through American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, public media is increasing national and local reporting, convening diverse local stakeholders, and providing access to free, digital classroom resources for teachers and parents. By working with the community, public broadcasting stations are increasing the footprint of progress, reaching more children and families to seed the foundation for a prosperous economic future for our country.

Fairbanks Stories of Champions

“Stories of Champions” highlights local community leaders making significant, scalable changes that are preparing students for success. Fairbanks’ Local Champions are role models in this community and are leading by example. KUAC is excited to help bring these “Champions” to American Graduate Day.

Videos shot and directed by KUAC’s Emmy® Award Winning Producers Aaron Elterman and Deb Lawton.  Edited by KUAC’s Mak Demmert.

Marylee Bates a former Fairbanks North Star Borough teacher began volunteering at Fairbanks Counseling and adoption’s street outreach program where she realized that without stable housing, staying in school is nearly impossible.  She then organized a Youth Focus Group to look into gaps in services in the Fairbanks community for this vulnerable population and went on to establish The Door, a homeless shelter for teens.

Marylee’s story was chosen to air during the nation-wide broadcast of American Graduate day on KUAC and public television stations across the country. Make sure to tune in between 12:30-1p to KUAC to see her story.


Laura Conner is Research Assistant Professor of Science Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  She leads the Case K-12 program which places science graduate students in schools to work side-by-side with teachers; the Alaska Summer Research Academy, which offers 2-week STEM summer experiences to students; and the Colors of Nature (funded by NSF) which offers 2-week summer experiences to girls in the area of art/science overlap and a public science cafe series.


Pat McDonald has 27 years of teaching experience in schools ranging from Atmautluak to Fairbanks.  She mentored 53 teachers in 19 different sites as part of the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project and is currently a math coach for two rural districts, providing classroom professional development for individual schools and teachers.



More on American Graduate Initiative & American Graduate Day 2015

Today’s global economy demands a more educated workforce. Communities are working together to improve 21st century learning and increase high school graduation rates to prepare more students for college and successful careers. Public media stations across the country are at the center of this community-based work — from quality content and forums to local partnerships and classroom resources — to increase understanding and access to solutions.

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is a long term public media commitment, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Public media plays a significant role building individual activity, community capacity, and national awareness.

The dropout crisis demands attention now, and we are rising to the challenge of doing our part to address this problem. A new study conducted by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins School of Education finds that the American Graduate initiative has succeeded in building community capacity to meet the national priority of ending America’s high school dropout crisis. LEARN MORE

American Graduate Day 2015 will once again be broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.  The broadcast of American Graduate Day 2015 will be a multi-platform event featuring local and national programming, community partners, and celebrities focused on improving the high school graduation rate in the United States. 

American Graduate Day 2015 will employ the same broadcast format as previous years with a seven-hour broadcast event around critical themes of: Career Readiness and College Completion, Caring Consistent Adults, Dropout Prevention and Re-engagement, Early Education, More and Better Learning, Special Needs and STEAM.  Hosted by on-air personalities from PBS, WNET, and other national media organizations, the broadcast and online event will be divided into fourteen half-hour blocks featuring a mix of live breaks, and pre-taped partner segments that show how community organizations provide support, advice, and intervention services to at-risk students, families and schools.

Throughout the day, viewers and online users will be invited to become engaged with their local public television stations and the featured community organizations.  Viewers will be encouraged to participate in the event by asking questions and sharing ideas before and during the broadcast on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #AmGrad.

WNET will also select approximately 14 “Stories of Champions” short productions for inclusion in the American Graduate Day 2015 broadcast.  In 2014, KUAC’s Champion, Yatibaey Evans was chosen to air nationally.  See her Champion Story here:


We hope you join KUAC and the nation for American Graduate Day 2015 and help us thank Fairbanks’ Local Champions and Champions from across the country.