Event today aims to foil dropouts

Posted: September 15, 2009

Studies have shown that most high school dropouts stop showing up in the ninth grade and are disproportionately minority boys, said Anthony Martin, who runs a science-based school in North Philly.

So, only two weeks into the school year, Martin believes it's the opportune time to "get them right now and to motivate them," and tickets to the Pro Bowl might help.

The second annual What It Takes symposium, to be held at school district headquarters, 440 North Broad St., at 4 p.m., today, aims to encourage teen boys to not only attend class, but also stay out of trouble.

A group of 250 of them will get practical advice from athletes and businessmen, including the Sixers' Andre Iguodala, former boxer Joe Frazier and race car driver Ted Irwin.

Martin has encouraged Philly students to take offbeat paths to learning for 11 years at the Urban Youth Racing School, on Front and Spring Garden streets.

The school's purpose is to introduce students to the sciences through racing, he said.

It educates boys and girls ages 8 to 18 years old. Nearly 100 percent graduate, he said. About 95 percent go on to college.

In a school district where girls graduate in greater numbers than boys, Martin said the school and today's event are necessary.

"Our goal is to try to combat the dropout rate," he said. "Let's get behind these kids in their time of need and keep them motivated."

The school, through a corporate sponsor, will give tickets to the Pro Bowl in Florida to the student with the highest grade-point average and best attendance at the end of the first marking period.

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