Header image for Brian Graves directs spot for American Graduate WFSU

Brian Graves directs spot for American Graduate WFSU

The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that only 63% of Florida high school students graduate. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting launched a campaign, American Graduate, to find solutions to this high dropout rate. School of Communication professor, Brian Graves, is a part of that solution.

gravesGraves directed and edited a spot for American Graduate – WFSU about Louis Garcia, CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Big Bend. Garcia is passionate about inspiring Leon County students to finish high school and to pursue a college degree. Through the program Mentor 2.0, he works to inspires kids in Leon County to achieve success with a high school degree and continue their education.

Graves joined the College of Communication and Information in 2014 and teaches courses in Single Camera Production, Media Writing, and Documentary Production.

Three students from Graves’ Single Camera Production class worked on the project.  Samantha Hunter, Cristina Fernandez and Savannah Slifer served as Assistant Producers.

“They did an excellent job, and working with them was a blast,” shared Graves.

Hunter has since been hired part-time with WFSU.

“This project has gotten me really excited about the possibilities for future partnerships and collaborations between WFSU and the Digital Media Production program,” said Graves.

“This is our fourth year working on this initiative,” said Kimberly Engstrom, Director of Content & Community Engagement for WFSU.


WFSU has captured over 150 stories from teens for their radio series, Voices from the Classroom. In addition to radio efforts, WFSU has participated in the national broadcast of American Graduate Day for the past three years. The station contributes local segments that talk about organizations and individuals in the community that work to champion graduation goals.

Leon County’s graduation rate is nearing 80%, but rates in surrounding counties are much lower.

American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and aims to help local communities find solutions to address the dropout crisis in high schools. Tune into WFSU-FM 89.9 to catch Voices from the Classroom, which airs weekly. If you know someone who is an American Graduate Champion in the community, you can nominate them online.