Basketball legend Magic Johnson furthered his legacy of elevating the Black community with the opening of a new school in downtown Atlanta which seeks to combat high dropout rates among African-American youth.
The Magic Johnson Bridgescape is free and open to students 14 to 20 years old that have dropped out or who are at risk of dropping out of school. At the school, students will receive aid in getting a high school diploma.
“You can’t get a decent job in this town so you have to get a high school diploma,” 19-year-old student Chris Wallace told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV. “It shows me that someone like him cares about people like us.”
Many of the school’s students share Wallace’s enthusiasm for the program, Bridgescape representative Jennifer Parker told the television station.
The program is distinguished by its holistic approach, offering individualized coaching and counselling in life skills and academic support. Students earn credits online in group and one-on-one settings.
Magic Johnson Bridgescape centers have already been established in Ohio, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. More Georgia locations are planned in Augusta, Macon and Savannah.
“Those students who finished school [from the center in Ohio] with us at the end of the last school year, 75 percent of them returned at the beginning of the school year to continue their education,” Parker said.