Dunedin principal tries positive peer pressure to encourage graduating

DUNEDIN, Fla. - Something small, almost weightless, is giving students at Dunedin High School extra motivation.

“It’s like a medal,” said Dunedin senior Adam Norris.

It was principal Reuben Hepburn’s idea to pass out bright red bracelets with an even bolder stamp of merit reading, “On track to graduate 2014.”

“It’s very cool to have one of these because it’s a positive form of peer pressure,” said student and senior Brooke Khandjian.

The bracelets are given to seniors with at least a 2.0 GPA and those on-track to earn 24 credits to graduate by the end of the school year. Other incentives to graduate include an off-campus, senior breakfast and a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. Still, Hepburn said he’s seen tremendous improvement since he announced the added incentive of the bracelets at the end of January.

“Within three weeks, the numbers rose to 65 percent. We are seeing an increase. It’s working, and we believe we’re going to surpass our graduation rate from 2013,” he said.

“School is almost over and seeing the bracelets made me realize I really got to get my stuff together,” said senior Vasili Veloudos. “I’ve been getting my grades up. I’m on track to graduate.” 

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