Mississippi student Brandon Spann and the WINGS Performing Arts Program in Gulfport are featured on a segment airing on “American Graduate Day 2015,” a public media and online event inspiring the public to help kids stay on track to earn a high school diploma.
“American Graduate Day” airs on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television. A mix of national and local segments from across the country, the show leverages the power and reach of public television to support communities addressing the high school dropout crisis.
MPB TV is producing a seven-minute live segment airing sometime between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. during “American Graduate Day.” The MPB segment spotlights the Gulfport High School student Brandon Spann and the WINGS Performing Arts Program at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. Spann and WINGS director Tonya Hays talk about how the arts can motivate students to stay on the path to graduation.
Spann credits his participation in WINGS as a factor in his academic success. Spann knew his school grades had to come up to the mark in order to be part of WINGS. Tonya Hays, director of the performing arts program, works with Spann and other students in theatre and music productions.
Recently, Hays drove Spann and other WINGS students to Washington, D.C. to perform their original play “Remembrance” at the Kennedy Center. Hays led the students through every aspect of producing the show - writing, casting and putting a finished product on stage themselves. Spann was a stand-out in the performance.
“American Graduate Day 2015” highlights several topics throughout the broadcast, including special needs, dropout prevention, college and career readiness.
A number of notable celebrities and public figures are involved with “American Graduate Day” including President George W. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, Jason Derulo, Shaquille O’Neal, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Shaffer, Dolly Parton, Mario Batali and Penn & Teller.
Viewers and online users interested in finding out how they can help with the dropout crisis in their hometowns can log on to mpbonline.org Viewers are invited invited to participate in “American Graduate Day” via Twitter using the #MPBAmGrad hashtag and on Facebook.