CHARLOTTE—The Arts and Science Council launched a new program Monday they hope will help high school students stay in school.
Studio 345 is an after school, youth development program for high school students across Charlotte-Mecklenburg and they are lining up to be a part of it.
After five years of researching, planning and fundraising, Studio 345 has finally come to fruition. The Arts and Science Council will use digital photography and digital multimedia arts to educate and inspire students to not only stay in school but graduate and pursue goals beyond high school.
For student Ambar Rodriguez, it was an opportunity she could not pass up.
"I thought it was a great opportunity for me not only to expand my horizons but to really get in to what photography is and kind of get on my creative side," said Rodriguez.
Officials said after visiting 20 Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools, offering the program to mainly students at risk of not graduating, they had an overwhelming amount of interest. Eighty-five students signed on.
Barbara Ann Temple said the idea behind it is a proven success.
"It began in the inner cities of Pittsburgh and they have a high, 95 percent graduation rate for those students who enroll in their program and within that 95, 96 percent; they have 85 [percent] that go on to college," said Temple.
Temple is hoping to have the same type of success in Charlotte. Through group activities, state of the art technology and individualized attention, Studio 345 is designed to motivate.
For several students, it is opening doors they wouldn't normally have access to.
"Most things like this you have to pay for and that's the big problem. Every time I find stuff I want to do, it's a lot of money. So it's a good thing that this is free because it allows me to do it," said student Justin Nichols.
As long as students abide by the honor code and give their best each week, ASC plans to do everything in their power to help the students succeed. Studio 345 is funded by private funds raised by ASC, as well as a $350,000 Community Service Grant from the Mecklenburg County Commission.