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Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy Wins Attendance Challenge for Central Texas

Austin ISD, in partnership with the E3 Alliance and the Get Schooled Foundation, are proud to announce Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy has won the middle school fall attendance challenge for Central Texas. The school placed seventh in the nation.

The YMLA will celebrate with a schoolwide dance with the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23. The schools’ namesakes, Gus Garcia and Bertha Sadler Means, will kick off the event with a first dance. The school will also accept a prize of $5,000.

The challenge was a friendly, nine-week competition to rally students to improve attendance and stay focused on education. More than 55,000 students participated nationally in the 2014 Fall Attendance Challenge.

“I’m very proud of our young men, who worked very hard to accomplish this goal,” said Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy Principal Sterlin McGruder. “Attendance is very important for our mission of educating our students and setting them up for success.”

Get Schooled Foundation sponsored the challenge in districts throughout the country during fall 2014. Partnering with local school districts and organizations such as E3 Alliance, the challenge provided incentives and fun, educational activities that engaged students. The challenge also provided college planning information and promoting a peer culture that supports attendance improvement and academic success. 

Each year, Central Texas students are absent 2.4 million school days. Each day a student is absent from class costs the district about $38 in state revenue. Across Central Texas, schools have been losing more than $91 million a year. To combat this challenge, E3 Alliance spearheaded a regional campaign to improve attendance starting in 2011. Since the start of the campaign, Central Texas schools have saved more than $20 million because of improved attendance.


E3 Alliance (Education Equals Economics), is a regional, data-driven, education collaborative based in Austin. E3 Alliance is leading the effort to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country to drive economic prosperity for Central Texas. E3 Alliance does this by using objective data and focused community collaboration to align the education systems so that all students can succeed. To learn more, visit

Get Schooled is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using media, technology and popular culture to improve high school graduation rates and college success rates. Get Schooled connects with young Americans through its combination of on-air programming, online content, on-the-ground events and school-based initiatives.  To learn more, visit