POSTED: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 9:36pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 10:55am
El Paso — Some El Paso teenagers got a big surprise Wednesday morning when an unexpected guest knocked on their door. Mayor John Cook was on their doorstep.
"I was just like, what's going on?" described Raymond Favela.
Mayor Cook visited Favela and another El Paso teen as part of Operation Outreach, an EPISD program aimed at getting high school dropouts to return to school. Favela dropped out just seven credits shy of graduation.
"I just didn't want to go back. I didn't really like the school," he said.
However, Thursday's visit changed Favela's outlook. He's now agreed to head back to class after the district agreed to help him out. Favela wants to join the Air Force next spring and the district is allowing him to take a course this fall that's normally only offered in the spring, so he can get his diploma.
"I really wasn't expecting it," he said.
But that's what the Alpha team says the program is all about, getting high school dropouts back in class, no matter what it takes.
"Our fundamental responsibility is to educate every student we've got, past, present, future," said Mark Mendoza with EPISD.
"I'd like to see where we get CEO's of major companies, presidents, and other elected officials, just have them all out there one day a year. We made this kid make the right decision that's going to impact the rest of his life," added Mayor Cook.
Operation Outreach started in 2008 and has an 85 percent success rate. Last year 40 out of 40 students agreed to return to school and all ended up earning their high school diplomas.