• Project Lift helps students get on track for graduation, future

    By: Torie Wells


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For graduation weekend, Project Lift said more than two dozen students who were not on track to graduate on time now are.

    It is part of the private-public partnerships effort to boost graduation rates in west Charlotte.

    Eyewitness News spoke with a student who graduated after making a choice to return to school.

    "I dropped out in 10th grade," said Tyrell Williams.

    He said he had bad attendance and low expectations for himself that made school tough, but now college is in his future.

    Williams said Lift Academy played a big role – it is part of the public-private partnership known as Project Lift.

    The academy is a smaller high school that helps students who are behind a year to graduate on time.

    That is how Alec Macaulay met Williams.

    "They want to overcome adversity they have faced in the past and get back on track," said Macaulay.

    He said at first the soft-spoken, but insightful young man hardly spoke to his teachers at all, but over time he opened up, asking questions and advocating for himself.

    "He made the decision to come in and change it and change his future for the better," said Macaulay.

    Williams said the support from his teachers and family helped.

    This spring he was invited to Mayor Anthony Foxx's office and he will not forget the words the mayor spoke.

    "Just keep your head up. You can do anything you put your mind to and just work hard," said Williams.

    "There are so many roads open to him now, doors opened that had been closed," said Macaulay.

    All because Williams decided to take that walk back into school.

    "I had to work for it though," Williams said.

    He now knows that is the case in life, that anything worth having is worth working for.

    Williams said he is thinking about taking classes at Central Piedmont Community College.

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