As of last Friday, more than 700 Des Moines students were considered drop outs because they failed to return to school for this school year.
So volunteers and district leaders went to those homes to try and get them back on track to graduate.
It’s a visit 16 year old Daisy Gaytan wasn’t expecting.
“We have lots of ways to help you catch up. Don’t stress about it,” said Tom Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools.
Daisy isn’t considered to be a dropout, but since having her son Isaac, making it to class each day hasn’t been easy.
“When I have to go to school, I have to find someone to take care of him,” said Gaytan.
Saturday, it was the mission of Ahart and volunteers like Marta, an employee at Wells Fargo Bank and Ryssa, a student from Trinidad and Tobago to help students like Daisy.
“It’s the reason I’m in the business. This means the world to me,” Ahart told Channel 13 News.
“There are a good number of people out there who are not from the school but also from the community who care about not only who they are today, but who they can become,” said Ryssa Brathwaite-Tobias, a volunteer.
The three visited eight homes, leaving information with some families about support offered by the district to help students get back into school or how to catch up on credits.
“We have all sorts of tutoring services, mentoring services, and alternative pathways,” said Ahart.
Other visits, like the one to Gaytan’s home were extra special.
Ahart was her former principal at Harding Middle School.
Gaytan says this reunion and encouragement is just what she needed to keep her reaching for her dreams.
“It’s just shocking. It does mean a lot to me. I hope it does,” Gaytan told Channel 13 News.
This is the fifth year of the Graduation Walk.
As a result, 58 students have re-enrolled in school.
Nearly three hundred have earned their diplomas through academic support labs.