Graduation rates in the Peach State went up 11 percent. In Central Georgia, Southwest High in Bibb County and Twiggs County High's graduation rate nearly doubled since 2012.
“If we can get 90 percent graduation rate, why can't we get 100?” says Makaya.
Tapuwa Makaya, Principal at Twiggs County High encourages his students to get to class on time.
“Studies show that when students come to school, they have a better opportunity to be more successful, so one of the things that we really wanted to tackle was attendance.”
Five years ago, they started an initiative where counselors sit down with senior students and get them prepared for life after high school.
“The counselor and graduation coach, they'll pull out a certain group of students maybe once a week and talk to them about things to be successful at school, talking to them about where to go, talking to them about debt,” says Makaya.
Cheniya Parks is set to graduate in a few months and step into the real world.
She says she goes to the school library five days a week to work on her capstone project.
“I feel that our class is a very strong class. We're like a family -- we build each other up, like if one doesn't come to school, we try to push each other to strive for excellence because we all want to go somewhere one day,” says Parks.
She's heavily involved in 9 after school activities, including cheerleading and drama club, and wants to become a heart surgeon.
“It's keeping me focused because even though I have all of those things,” said Parks, “I also balance myself to keep up with my work and turn it in on time,” says Parks.
She's one of many Twiggs students taking college credit courses in the dual enrollment program.
She hopes to walk across the stage with honors and take some of her classmates with her.
“Keep pushing, just keep because in the end, they are going to see the light,” says Parks.
The principal also mentioned that they recognize the students who are doing well and they give them incentives.