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Why Louisville Students Drop Out of School, Told First Hand

Over the past month, WFPL has aired personal narratives from young adults who dropped out of the public school system. 
The series is part of The Next Louisville education project and attempts to shed light on the stories behind the statistics and data media often report. The conversations below show the complexity of student lives and why people often associate education within the context of a community. Please take a moment to listen to or share the stories below.

Twenty-year-old Kimani Straub says he left Seneca High School just shy of receiving his high school diploma. He's been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder, but he was always able to maintain good grades.  But when he discovered after 14 years the man he thought was his father wasn't, things started to slip. Straub says he left Jefferson County to live with his real father at 14-years-old. When he returned to Louisville for his senior year he was placed in Breckenridge Metropolitan High School, one of the district's several alternative schools. He says this was partly due to his attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder.


Twenty-three-year-old Steven Gholston was born in Louisville’s South End but moved all over Jefferson County, even spending time in Cincinnati and Georgia. He says constantly being on the move was difficult. Gholston says he attended over half a dozen Jefferson County Public Schools before dropping out. 

Pierre Travis, 23, has lived in Louisville's West End his whole life. Like other youth we interviewed for our series featuring students who at some point dropped out of the public school system, Travis attended several Jefferson County public schools.  Travis says after being suspended sophomore year he was sent to Buechel Metropolitan High School, one of the district's several alternative schools. Here, he cycled in and out of the system over the next three years and ultimately left Buechel after being arrested for threatening a teacher.

Marcus McCormick sacrificed his own education for his brothers, sometimes stealing food from grocery stores to feed his hungry family. But after he dropped out of school and left home his brothers stopped going to school. We appreciate those who have shared their stories with us and the community, and invite everyone to join the conversation throughout the next year. You can join our free  Public Insight Network and become a potential source and voice in the community.