At face value it may look like a simple T-shirt, but it is part of a bigger movement. Every year, volunteers with the I Will Graduate project pass out 40,000 shirts to Kindergarteners, second- and fourth-graders in DISD with a specific purpose: to get them thinking about their future.
On the front, the shirt names the high school that child is likely to attend, such as Woodrow Wilson for Lakewood Elementary students. The back is collaged with the names of different colleges DISD students have attended, everything from Yale University to University of North Texas, reminding students that any educational goal they have is achievable.
What’s more, the schools can use the shirts to help keep track of students on field trips or to build school spirit. DISD is the second largest school district in Texas with 80,000 elementary school students across 152 schools, which filter into 22 public high schools. Of those students, 88 percent are economically disadvantaged, meaning they’re statistically less likely to finish high school and attend college. This campaign aims to set students on the path of considering college from a very young age.
The project was founded in 2015 under the direction of DISD parent Louisa Meyer, who is busy looking for sponsors to help raise the $200,000 needed to buy the next class of student shirts. Here in Lakewood, John Guild has been the biggest donor to the project.
Donations are sought by Aug. 31, and can be made online.
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