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Editor’s Note

Young Lives at the Crossroads

Most of us had a best friend from high school or even earlier whose life ended up on a completely different path from our own. Some choices along the way—what to wear, whom to date, what to do after school—probably had limited impact. But there was at least one definitive fork in the road: Finishing high school, or not. That decision affects everything from college opportunities to careers to whether best friends really are forever (or “BFF” as your students and children say).

What factors determine who will get a diploma, and who won’t? The Pele sisters in our cover story show just how complicated a question that is. Smart, confident, with strong family support, these girls have already started down different paths in their young lives. Check out the video and audio of what life is like for them and their teachers. And visit to see what NEA is doing about the fact that 30 percent of high school students drop out before graduation—that’s one million young people every year. That’s a million BFFs who should be headed down the right path.

Publisher Leona Hiraoka

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