Dallas ISD Encouraging Graduating Seniors To 'Finish Strong'

Robbie Owens reports.

Video Transcript

- Getting seniors across the stage in spite of the pandemic. That's the ultimate goal of a district-wide effort today in Dallas ISD. It's called "Finish Strong." It's encouraging seniors to finish the final quarter on campus, as both attendance and the academics they know have suffered with so much online learning. Our Robbie Owens reporting today from Dallas's Lincoln High.

- Three, two, one!

KELBIE LEWIS: It felt like a weight off my shoulders. I said a quick prayer, so I know that God heard me, so--

ROBBIE OWENS: At Lincoln High School, the balloon release more than symbolic.

KELBIE LEWIS: To release procrastination, lack of motivation, lack of self-confidence.

ROBBIE OWENS: It was an invitation for seniors to recenter after months of learning and sometimes struggling online.

JOHNNA WEAVER: We do have some who have been successful online, but the majority need a little extra support. And that's why we're here.

ROBBIE OWENS: So Lincoln's party with a purpose launched the year's final quarter with fun, prizes, and support to help them get that diploma.

JOHNNA WEAVER: It's a game-changer. We know, just from statistics say, if our kids don't get a high school diploma, there's just no way they can even make it out.

ROBBIE OWENS: So Finish Strong, a district-wide effort to encourage senior students to return to campus.

- We have nine weeks left. You are this close to graduation! And we need you to graduate!

ROBBIE OWENS: Even those seniors who tell me they've managed the academic piece well a lot are still welcoming this Finish Strong effort, telling me the isolation has taken a toll.

- I miss my friends so much.

- 'Cause we're a family and we need everybody. You know, a body needs all the parts to work. So finishing strong means finishing with everyone.

DEBBIE WILSON-LEWIS: Other students needed help and that's what's Ms. [? Nashee ?] was like, your daughter is on track to have other students who might need her help, so send her here. And I was on board.

JOHNNA WEAVER: Oh, I almost shouted today. I almost shouted. You know I ain't supposed to be shouting at work.

ROBBIE OWENS: Because who can say no to Johnna Weaver?

JOHNNA WEAVER: But I am excited. Because you know what, my prayers were answered. And at the end of the day, it's not about me, it's about these kids. And if I cannot do for these kids what am I supposed to do, then I shouldn't be here at this point as the principal of this school.

ROBBIE OWENS: It's a good day.

JOHNNA WEAVER: It's a great day. It's a wonderful day in Sunny South Dallas. Hey!

ROBBIE OWENS: At Lincoln High School, Robbie Owens, CBS 11 News.