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Graduation Alliance founders named Real Salt Lake “heroes”

  • Joanna
  • September 25, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY, Sep. 25, 2013 — Two Graduation Alliance founders were named “Heroes Among Us” ahead of Saturday’s Major League Soccer match between Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Gregg Rosann and Rebekah Richards helped launch Graduation Alliance in 2007 to give high school dropouts a path to a diploma. In the intervening years, their Salt Lake City-based program has partnered with school districts across the nation to provide young men and women an opportunity to return to school with the flexibility, social support and academic interventions they need to get to graduation day.

Research shows high school graduates are far less likely to be jobless, homeless, incarcerated or otherwise dependent on the nation’s already strained social safety net. But challenges such as child care, bullying, illness and chemical dependency can make it difficult or impossible for some students to attend a traditional school. Working closely with district leaders across the country, Graduation Alliance provides the path many of these students need to get back to their studies.

“Giving these students a second chance at success is not only good for them, but also good for their communities and our nation as a whole,” Richards said. “We’re really proud that we’ve been able to help provide these amazing young men and women with an opportunity to get back to school and graduate.”

The Heroes Among Us award was presented to Rosann and Richards by RSL and American Express in front of a sell-out crowd of 20,504 – including a strong contingent of Graduation Alliance recruiters, counselors, teachers, mentors and tech experts.

More than six years after founding Graduation Alliance, Rosann said he still wakes up every day excited by what he’s doing. “When you get to do something you love – something that helps so many other people – it doesn’t feel like a job at all,” he said. “We’re changing lives every day, and I’m fortunate to be a part of that.”

The home side fell to San Jose, 2-1. “But we had a great time anyway,” Rosann said, “and we’ll be rooting for Real Salt Lake next week when it plays for the U.S. Open Cup.”