American Graduate Day 2014

American Graduate Day 2014 Nearly Triples Goal for American Graduate Champions

Air date: 09/27/2014

 American Graduate Day 2014” Nearly Triples Goal for American Graduate Champions


NEW YORK [October 1, 2014] – American Graduate Day 2014 ended on Saturday with  2,761,210 American Graduate Champions  recognized – individuals committed to work with youth across the country to graduate high school and stay on track to college and career success – WNET and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced today.

Hosted by best-selling author, Army combat veteran and television personality Wes Moore, American Graduate Day 2014 featured a line-up of special guests, video profiles and performances during a seven-hour broadcast from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

The event, part of CPB  and public media’s American Graduate initiative to raise graduation rates to 90% by 2020, was the most successful to date–nearly tripling its goal of one million new American Graduate Champions – and attracting a record number of stations and partners to a multi-platform event that generated significant social media engagement.

“Public media is America’s storyteller and through American Graduate and American Graduate Day we are telling the stories of the students, the teachers, the parents, the community and business and faith-based organizations who are working as champions on behalf of these young people,”  said Patricia S. Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  “As a result, the dropout numbers are moving in the right direction and our young people are staying on the path to a high school diploma. This is the power of public media.”

“By producing this annual event, WNET is playing a key role in helping public media stations achieve the goal of 90% graduation rates by 2020,” said Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, home to public television’s THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and NJTV.  “It has also given us the opportunity to recognize those remarkable individuals, mentors and organizations that are investing in the future through our youth in every community.”

A growing movement on-air and online:

By the close of the broadcast, American Graduate Day 2014 had successfully recognized the 2,761, 210 American Graduate Champions working in organizations across the county to keep kids on the path to graduation. To calculate this number, each of the 50 local, regional, and national nonprofits profiled on the program were asked to provide the number of volunteers and professional in their organizations that are working to improve students’ education.

50 national and local partner organizations participated and were profiled during the daylong broadcast;

National carriage for American Graduate Day 2014 was 84% of US households—up from 66% in 2012 and 73% in 2013;

American Graduate Day 2014 was carried on 116 stations serving  139 markets in 48 states  as well as in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands;

American Graduate Day 2014 was seen in 29 of the top 30 Nielsen markets;

Over 1,600 Tweets contained the #AmGrad hashtag – reaching over 1.8 million Twitter users – including Tweets by the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, singer-songwriter Andy Grammer,  author Wes Moore, and PBS news anchor Hari Sreenivasan (data from;

The American Graduate Day 2014 broadcast received at least 1,100 additional mentions on Twitter on September 27th (search parameters = American+graduate, as well as mentions of @AmeriGrad handle) – data from;

Tweets from @amerigrad, the official Twitter for American Graduate Day, generated 3.5 million potential impressions on Twitter and produced  390 responses (re-Tweets, favorites, mentions) on September 27th (data from Sprout Social);

The American Graduate Facebook page hosted hourly live-chats with partner organizations to continue conversations from the broadcast; the page received 591 Likes, Shares and comments on September 27 (data from Sprout Social);

Over 380 Tweets containing a localized version of the #AmGrad hashtag from stations and organizations applying a hyper-local focus to conversations and ways of getting involved (data from

A week of special launch events:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan participated in a September 22nd launch event held at The Talent Unlimited High School in New York City, where key education partners announced new commitments in support of children totaling more than $84 million.

Patricia S. Harrison, president and CEO of CPB, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) along with WNET and invited guests on Thursday, September 25, to mark the third annual American Graduate Day.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a Mayoral Proclamation officially declaring September 27th as “American Graduate Day” in New York City.

Singer-songwriter Andy Grammer, a VH1 Save the Music Foundation ambassador, offered a special free download of his current single “Back Home,” from the new album “Magazines Or Novels,” from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm ET on Saturday in honor of American Graduate Day 2014.

Nearly 150 Stories of Champions were created by 47 public media stations, and 14 aired as part of the national broadcast.

Programming highlights included:

Live and taped appearances by renowned celebrities, media personalities and sports figures, such as Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto for Exploring the Arts; former mayor Michael Bloomberg for Publicolor; William Brangham (PBS NewsHour Weekend); Ken Burns (documentary filmmaker); Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions) for Taco Bell Foundation for Teens; Juju Chang ( ABC News); U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Deputy Secretary James Shelton, for the U.S. Department of Education, Rehema Ellis (NBC); General Colin Powell and Alma Powell for America’s Promise Alliance; Susie Gharib (Nightly Business Report); Bianna Golodryga (Yahoo!); Andy Grammer (singer/songwriter) and Ingrid Michaelson (singer/songwriter) for VH1 Save The Music Foundation; Bryant Gumbel (HBO Sports); Rebecca Jarvis (ABC News); Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Olympic athlete) and CC Sabathia (New York Yankees) for Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Miral Kotb (dancer/choreographer) for Girls Who Code; Lyn May (PBS); Dikembe Mutombo (NBA Global Ambassador) and Chris Paul (LA Clippers) for My Brother’s Keeper; Stone Phillips (anchor/correspondent); Roadtrip Nation hosts Jason Manion and Felipe Hernandez; Sesame Street’s Elmo and Christopher Knowings; Hari Sreenivasan (PBS NewsHour); Lauren Wanko (NJTV); and Brian Williams (NBC), Jane Stoddard Williams (BloombergEDU), and their children Doug Williams (YES Network) and actress Allison Williams (“Girls”) for Horizons National.

Other highlights from this year’s broadcast include robot demonstrations by FIRST, and live performances by the 45-piece Trenton Public Schools Marching Band, supported by VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and spoken word pieces by The Raise Up Project, which was also honored the following day at The Kennedy Center; 5 live remotes from Washington, DC and from public media stations in Baton Rouge, LA, Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH, and Las Vegas, NV; and 14 Stories of Champions, part of nearly 150 video profiles produced by 47 stations to spotlight local community members doing extraordinary work on behalf of kids.

Following the broadcast, PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan led a post-show discussion with Wes Moore, including an in-depth look at Florida’s experimental program to expand reading time for struggling elementary schools.


American Graduate Day 2014 is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with WNET. Michael Kostel is executive producer.  Colin Powers is broadcast producer.  Chris Brande, Anna Campbell, Helen Maier, Ryan Nantell are producers. From the Education Department, Kimberly Mullaney is project manager and Carole Wacey is vice president, education. Neal Shapiro is executive-in-charge.

American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen – a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help more kids stay on the path to graduation.

Visit the American Graduate Web site for more details on participating PBS stations as well as other television and radio programs:



About WNET

As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.


About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.


About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions. Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020. With primetime and children’s programming that educates, informs, and inspires public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are important resources in helping to address critical issues facing today’s communities. According to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, American Graduate stations have told the story about the dropout crisis in a way that empowered citizens to get involved, and helped community organizations break down silos to work more effectively together. In early 2014, CPB and PBS KIDS committed an additional $20 million for the “American Graduate PBS KIDS Fund” to also help communities connect the importance of early learning as part of a student’s long term success. In addition to station grants for local engagement, the Fund will support the creation of children’s content and tools to help parents, particularly those from low income communities, better prepare their young children for long term success. Fourteen American Graduate station grantees have also been awarded CPB early education grants to reach children ages 2-8 with programming and services developed through the Ready to Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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