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This guest blog post comes from Shanee Garner, co-chair of the June 12 event committee.

Tomorrow, some of Philadelphia’s most thoughtful and concerned citizens will gather to celebrate another year of excellent reporting from the Notebook. True Notebook readers understand that the Notebook’s impact is so much bigger than education news -- it’s community news.

When the Notebook reported that the School District of Philadelphia’s graduation rate finally exceeded the 60 percent mark, it transcended school news. It opened a conversation.

What about the students who didn’t make it to graduation? How will last year’s budget cuts affect our next year’s graduation rates? To depart from graduation rates in the bitter 50s was good – but far from good enough. The graduation rate has major implications for family well-being, the incarceration rate, and government spending. That is much more than education news. It’s community news.

Likewise, when we learn that the unemployment rate in Kensington and Eastern North Philadelphia is almost 50 percent among young dropouts, we have an obligation to act. What should we, as a community, do to reduce that number?

In short, the Notebook makes us accountable. As long as the Notebook is around, we have access to top-notch reporting and an open space for dialogue. We stay informed on key issues, and with that knowledge comes an obligation to change the news that keeps us up at night.

So tomorrow, on June 12, I’ll be doing my part to celebrate the Notebook and to meet other Philadelphians who care about Philadelphia because education is an issue for all of our community. I hope that you will join me.

In their own words: Salawat
In their own words: Mohammad
In their own words: Neira
In their own words: Gul

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