‘No Excuses': High School Dropouts in New Haven Encouraged to Continue Education

Before the start of the new school year in New Haven Thursday, there is a new push for adults that dropped out of high school to continue their education.

One hundred staff members from the adult education program held a rally Tuesday on the New Haven Green to encourage residents to return to school. They dressed in bright t-shirts that said “No Excuses” on the back.

“The mission today is to address those alarming statistics around our adults in New Haven that one out of every six does not have their high school diploma,” Principal Michelle Bonora said, “and 30 percent of our citizens struggle to read or read proficiently.”

Tracey Davis Massey dropped out of high school in South Carolina.

“I had my first child when I was in the 10th grade and I had to be independent,” she told NBC Connecticut. “I had to go out and work.”

Davis Massey has since raised four children. She said three have their high school diplomas and the fourth will graduate from New Haven Public Schools next June.

A year ago at age 46, Davis Massey decided to enroll in classes at the New Haven Adult & Continuing Education Center on Ella Grasso Boulevard.

“Going back to re-learn the things I enjoyed the most, history, science, things that are so dear to my heart,” she said.

New Haven’s adult students range from 17 to older than 70 years old, Bonora said, adding that more than 170 graduated with high school diplomas last year.

Davis Massey said she is on track to receive hers in 2019.

“This was it, this was the final call and I wanted to show my children that I can do it just as well as you can do it,” she said.

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