- Pacific Island Times Staff
Guam kids face 18 years in school, by law
Guam legislators are considering a bill that would keep students in school until they are age 18. Presently, 16-year-olds can drop out and legally work, assuming they can find jobs given their limited qualifications. During a public hearing, University of Guam social work students who have spoken with these young persons, who often regret their decision down the road. In the most recent school year the students said, 243 minor age students dropped out.
Bill 159-34 was introduced by Senators Joe S. San Agustin, Wil M. Castro and Dennis G. Rodriguez Jr.
Serene Manglona Pecha also dropped out of high school at 17. "Sadly, most drop out individuals will find themselves victims to the cycle of poverty. Having the option to drop out of high school before the age of 18 should even be an option. Had this bill been in place at my time of schooling, I would have been forced to take responsibility and accountability for myself, my family and the betterment of my community. I am in a much better place, but it has taken years to get where I am today. Had I stayed in school, I would have obtained my degree and started my career at a much earlier time."
UOG Senior Adrian Davis "I dropped out of high school at age 16 from enduring bullying and not meeting expectations of society. I became the financial responsibility of those around me. By the time I turned 18, I had wandered the workforce in search of a job that can support me and also accept me as not having a high school diploma.
This search took two years and I could not find a job. After going through an emotional state, it prompted me to obtain my high school diploma through Guam Community College and this is when I realized what the value of an education is. My initial goal was to get my diploma and leave. With the help of my mentors at GCC, I pursued an associate degree, leadership positions and many positive relationships. Today I'm here before you because I don't want to have another person drop out and go through the struggles that I did."
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