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Ranna Daud, Executive Director, After-School All-Stars Las Vegas

Casey Sandoval, 8th grader, Brinley Middle School

Patricia Hernandez, 8th grader, Cashman Middle School

BY ERIK HELLING -- Last week, eight Las Vegas students were camped out in a UNLV dormitory. It was a graduation of sorts for the After-School All-Stars -- a program that encourages academic and social success among middle school students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, and not even thinking about going to college.

Ranna Daud, the Executive Director of After-School All-Stars acknowledges that Nevada has the third worst dropout rate in the country, and thinks preparing middle school students for high school is an effective way to stop dropouts from happening.

“The year between middle school and high school is often a difficult year for kids to transition and be prepared for the new things that high school brings, and what we do is help them to be prepared,” says Daud. “We do workshops in high school readiness and preparation as well as college readiness and awareness. We just want to make sure that students have what they need.”

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Casey Sandoval, a member of the After-School All Stars, was inspired by the program to consider college. Sandoval previously didn’t think that college was an option, but since enrolling in the program, has changed his mind.

“I have set a goal for myself, and now I want to at least get my doctoral degree. If not, at least my masters,” said Sandoval.

Patricia Hernandez, another member of the After-School All Stars, has a different goal, but it is just as ambitious as Sandoval’s. Hernandez has set a goal of meeting new people every day.

“When I came to this camp, I knew that I was going to start meeting new people. Some of them might be the most important people in my life, so I decided to get out of my comfort zone,” said Hernandez.

Ranna Daud hopes that all the students at CampUS learn that they are incredible and full of potential.

“They all have the great ability to graduate from high school, and more importantly that they have people who care and support them and are willing to be there for them throughout the four years of high school.”

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