OAKLAND (KCBS) – More than a hundred local college-bound students will be honored at a ceremony on Sunday at Oakland’s Kaiser Center for defying the statistics.

A study released last month found that by middle school, 55 percent of Oakland’s African American men show signs of dropping out.

Justin Davis, program coordinator with the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, said that young black men in the Bay Area have the lowest academic achievement rates.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“On average, we’re talking of a graduation rate of about 24 percent,” said Davis

It’s why the foundation started its annual College Bound Brotherhood Graduation Celebration three years ago to honor young men defying those numbers and statistics.

“It demonstrates a great, positive spirit for younger generations and people who have essentially become numb to the less uplifting stories,” Davis said.

Jamal Rasheed is among the honorees this year. The 18-year-old is graduating from Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School and headed off to Morehouse College in Atlanta this fall.

“Throughout the year, I’ve seen friends that I’ve had going down a bad road, either jail or on the streets,” he said.

Rasheed credits community centers and other positive places for helping him build a strong support system.

The Mitchell Kapor Foundation has given a million dollars in grants over the past four years to organizations that help young black men prepare for college.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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