"I was just done with school. I was done with the drama. You don't want to deal with it anymore."
Kayla Lydic thought she had it all figured out. In her mind, a life without high school would be perfect. It didn't go according to plan.
In the end, the jobs interviews didn't happen, the money didn't come in, the friends weren't there and a better life eluded her..
"It's not what it comes out to be," she says.
New numbers from the state show fewer students are following in Lydic's shoes.
Here in the Tri-Cities, fewer people dropped out of school this past year than at any other time since at least 2008.
In the case, extra attention has been critical. For years now, Pasco and Kennewick have assigned "success coordinators" to every single student. Nothing goes unnoticed, from a bad report card to a bad day in class. From there, students will meet with their coordinators to stay on the right track. The end result: fewer kids are slipping through the cracks and eventually dropping out.
"Your GED isn't the best thing you can do... getting your diploma is the best thing," Lydic says.
Another reason for the success has been an emphasis on five-year high school programs. If a student struggles in their senior year, each district will allow that student to stay on an additional year and score better grades the second time around.
The dropout rate is also down in both the Walla Walla and Ki-Be school districts.
While the numbers are positive, we are still falling behind the state average.