Preston Hollow mom Louisa Meyer had an idea. Much like Highland Park ISD’s tradition, Meyer wanted to give T-shirts to Dallas ISD elementary school students with their high school graduation year on the front of it.
Though DISD graduation rates are improving, keeping students in the district from elementary through high school remains a challenge.
But Meyer’s idea had a challenge of its own: funding. She originally thought to reach out to local businesses, but another idea hit her.
“I’ve got to put colleges on the back,” she said. “So we’re taking it one step further, both in scale and reach, but in promoting colleges as well as high school.”
She reached out to DISD alumni to donate to help make the shirts. If they donated, their college would be represented on the backs of the shirts. Among the alumni are Forrest and Sally Hoglund, who represent University of Kansas, the Scovells of Texas Tech University, Todd Williams of Austin College, and more.
But Meyer wants the kids to be able to wear the shirts and identify with one another. She said if they see each other out, both wearing the shirt, even if they’re not at the same elementary school, they will see each other in middle and high school — if they’re staying in the district.
There’s about a 20 percent mobility rate because of different circumstances, including families moving, Meyer said.
“I’ve just always felt like, especially in this part of town, we need an identity with our public schools and we need a conductivity with our high school,” Meyer said.
Right now, high school students are delivering the shirts.
One of those students is Nicole Finks, a senior at W.T. White High School and student body president.
She helped deliver shirts to Nathan Elementary School and said the kids were excited to receive them.
As far as having their college graduation date on the front of the shirts, Finks said it’s important for the kids to know that college is an option.
“They’re smart enough to do it,” she said. “They have the backing of the school and their teachers that can help them get there.”