American Graduate Day 2014

Fact Sheet

Air date: 09/27/2014

American Graduate Day 2014

Fact Sheet


Program Title: American Graduate Day 2014

Airdate: Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 11 am -6:00 pm EDT on public media (check local listings)

Program descriptionAmerican Graduate Day 2014 – For the third consecutive year, WNET presents this full-day multi-platform event live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York–featuring local and national programming, community partners, and celebrities, to celebrate the exceptional work of the individuals and groups whose ongoing efforts and daily heroics help area youth stay on track to earn high school diplomas. American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate – Let’s Make It Happen – a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help more kids stay on the path to graduation.

The key component of the event is the participation of the community-based organizations. Nearly 30 national partner organizations, 14 local organizations, and celebrity guests involved in education and youth intervention programs will be featured. A special goal for this year’s event is also to recognize one million American Graduate Champions taking an active role in volunteering their time, talent, or other resources to help put kids on a path to success.

Among the national organizations featured are: 4-H, 100K in 10, America SCORES Cleveland, America’s Promise Alliance, AmeriCorps, Autism Speaks, Banister Leadership Academy, Best Buddies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Citizen Schools, City Year, Communities In Schools, Exploring the Arts, FIRST, Gateway to College National Network, GEAR UP, GRAD Cincinnati, Horizons National, Jobs for America’s Graduates, Junior Achievement, My Brother’s Keeper, National Academy Foundation, Omaha Empowerment Network, Project SEARCH, Publicolor, The Raise Up Project, Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental, Roadtrip Nation, Special Olympics, Samsung Electronics North America, Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™, United Way and VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

WNET will feature local organizations including: Blue Engine, Expeditionary Learning, Eye to Eye , Girls Who Code, Global Kids, “I Have A Dream” Foundation, iMentor, The New York Foundling, NYC Outward Bound Schools, New York Cares, Rocking the Boat, Sesame Workshop, and VISIONS.

The host of this year’s event is bestselling author and education advocate Wes Moore. Other hosts participating in the day’s events are Bianna Golodryga (Yahoo!), Stone Phillips (news anchor), Hari Sreenivasan (PBS NewsHour Weekend), Lauren Wanko (NJTV), Juju Chang (ABC News), Rehema Ellis (NBC News), Rebecca Jarvis (ABC News), Susie Gharib (Nightly Business Report), Lyn May (PBS) and William Brangham (PBS NewsHour Weekend). Elmo (Sesame Street) will appear for Sesame Workshop.

The national outreach event employs the same television broadcast format as last fall, with a number of exciting new elements added to the schedule this year. The broadcast will feature a seven-hour “call-to-action” marathon around critical themes, including Early Education, Caring Consistent Adults, More and Better Learning, Special Needs, STEAM Programs, Dropout Prevention & Re-Engagement, and Career Readiness and College Completion. Hosted by on-air personalities from PBS, WNET, and other media organizations, the broadcast and online event will be divided into 14 half-hour blocks featuring a mix of live breaks and pre-taped partner segments showing how community organizations provide support, advice, and intervention services to at-risk students, families, and schools.

This year will also feature a number of new components.  Host Wes Moore will lead a post-show discussion immediately following the event, interviewing key figures and business leaders.  Live entertainment and performances will include The Raise Up Project and Trenton Public Schools Marching Band. A new series, “Stories of Champions,” will present 14 compelling one-minute profile pieces, scheduled to air every half-hour, which will spotlight individuals and influential figures in local communities around the country who are successfully keeping students on the path to graduation.  For the first time, the programming will also feature the special needs community and the work of important organizations such as Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics. The importance of the arts in STEAM will also be highlighted as a key factor that can compel kids to stay in school, which is reflected in programs like Exploring the Arts and VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and more.

On, the event will include live viewer generated video content submitted in response to questions such as “How has your life changed, or been changed by the power of volunteering?” Throughout the day viewers and online users in communities across the county will be invited to take an active role and become an “American Graduate Champion for local youth by volunteering their time, talent, or other resources.

Celebrities scheduled to take part in the event include U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto for Exploring the Arts, Gen. Colin Powell and Alma Powell for America’s Promise Alliance, CC Sabathia and Jackie Joyner-Kersee for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Ingrid Michaelson and Andy Grammer for VH1 Save The Music, Miral Kotb for Girls Who Code, Michael Bloomberg (former Mayor of New York City) for Publicolor, Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions) for Taco Bell Foundation, Brian Williams (NBC) and Jane Stoddard Williams, and their children Doug Williams (YES Network) and actress Allison Williams (Girls) to be interviewed about their organization Horizons National.

Educational Outreach: Local public media stations broadcasts will have the opportunity to customize the national feed with a locally-produced live or pre-taped six minute segment.

Social Media: Viewers will be encouraged to participate in the event by asking questions and sharing ideas before and during the broadcast on Twitter and on Facebook using the #AmGrad hashtag. Those interested in becoming an American Graduate Champion can also call the Toll free number on the day of broadcast or log on to to find out more about the national and regional organizations and how to help in their hometowns.

Production CreditsAmerican 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 is national segment producer. Helen Maier is co-producer. Anna Campbell is local segment producer. From the Education Department, Kimberly Mullaney is project manager, and Carole Wacey is vice president, education. Neal Shapiro is executive-in-charge.

Funding CreditsAmerican Graduate Day is part of American Graduate – Let’s Make It Happen – a public media initiative supported 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:




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