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American Graduate Day Celebrates Individuals and Organizations Committed to Improving Outcomes for Youth and Raising Graduation Rates

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Sept. 17, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American Graduate Day 2015 returns this fall for its fourth consecutive year. Soledad O'Brien will host the all-day broadcast which premieres Saturday, October 3, from 11AM-6PM ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings). Broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City, the annual multiplatform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations.

Featuring seven hours of national and local programming, live interviews and performances, American Graduate Day 2015 will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and groups across the country who are American Graduate Champions: those helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.

American Graduate Day 2015 will be anchored by "Stories of Champions," a series of 14 one-minute profile pieces scheduled to air every half-hour, which will spotlight individuals and influential figures in local communities around the country who are successfully keeping students on the path to graduation.

Junior Achievement USA (JA) will spotlight JA Alumnus Joseph Fortuno, a teen entrepreneur who was the CEO of Herban Movement, a start-up created by Junior Achievement of Northern California students attending Hercules High School in Hercules, Calif. Herban Movement created a cookbook-encyclopedia hybrid and a multipurpose bag that replaces outdated plastic grocery bags. Herban Movement was recognized with a national award for social innovation at Junior Achievement's recent National Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Fortuno will be interviewed on American Graduate Day by ABC Nightline anchor and Junior Achievement Alumna Juju Chang.

Fortuno noted, "I am excited to represent Junior Achievement and what they have helped me build for the last two years. I hope that this opportunity will inspire the viewers of the program the way that Junior Achievement inspired me to create a successful future."

Viewers and online users who are interested in connecting with local organizations and youth as American Graduate Champions can log on to AmericanGraduate.org to find out more about the national and regional organizations and how to help in their hometowns. Viewers will also be invited to participate in the discussion via Twitter using the #AmGrad hashtag and on Facebook.

American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen – a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Additional funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Visit the American Graduate website for more details on participating PBS stations as well as other television and radio programs: www.americangraduate.org.

CELEBRITY PARTICIPATION ON AMERICAN GRADUATE DAY:

President George W. Bush; Gen. Colin and Alma Powell (America's Promise Alliance); Jason Derulo (VH1 Save the Music Foundation); Zendaya (Get Schooled); Allison Williams (Horizons National); Shaquille O'Neal (My Brother's Keeper Alliance); Billy Bob Thornton (Merrimack Hall); Paul Shaffer (Little Kids Rock); Dolly Parton (Imagination Library); Ed Asner (Autism Speaks); Penn & Teller (Opportunity Village); Mario Batali (Mario Batali Foundation); U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (4-H); Regina Carter (VH1 Save the Music Foundation); Sean Casey (The Miracle League); Bob and Suzanne Wright (Autism Speaks) and Cynthia Germanotta (Born This Way Foundation/Emotion Revolution).

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 4.6 million students per year in 113 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.6 million students served by operations in 121 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is public media's long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to help young people success in school and life. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 100 public television and radio stations have joined forces with over 1,400 partners across 40 states to elevate the stories of our youth and the supportive adults that help them succeed. Through American Graduate, public media, with its unique position as a trusted resource and important part of local communities, provides a critical platform to shine a light on pathways to graduation and successful student outcomes. National and local reporting, both on air and online is helping communities understand the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with the dropout crisis. Public forums, town halls, and community conversations are activating discussions between community leaders, educators, and more.

CONTACT: Stephanie Bell Junior Achievement USA (719) 540-6171 sbell@ja.org @JA_USA

Source:Junior Achievement USA