Ashleigh: I dropped out when I was about in the ninth grade, kind of like just to hang out and socialize, you know, and do drugs, party, whatever. And I decided when I got pregnant that I wanted to get my life straight, have a life. I heard about Sunset. I came on down, and I got enrolled. And I basically went from being a ninth-grader to almost being an eleventh-grader, and that's only in one year.
Teacher: If he's uphill, you're going to have positive slopes, okay?
Narrator: Like many of her fellow students, Ashleigh Scholler is making the most of her second chance at Sunset South, a unique Clark County high school that caters to the needs of some 500 students who might otherwise drop out.
Come here, Haley.
Kay: We have a day nursery with our school, which allows the father and the mother to come to school and have their child on-campus and safely cared for. We have kids that work early-morning construction. We have kids that work late-night at casinos. And so the high school that goes from 2:00 in the afternoon to 9:00 in the evening is perfect for these kids.
Ashleigh: Does this have anything to do with a negative and a positive when you've got to find the--
Teacher: It sure does.
Kay: They don't have to give up their education if they need money and they need a job.
How is school going?
It's going good.
Narrator: Before he enrolled at Sunset, Joe Paterna was parking cars.
Joe: Then I got the opportunity to get the valet job, so I started working valet. I was making pretty good money, so I just kind of said, "I'll get my G.E.D., and I'll just do valet because I'm making good money."
Have a good night.
Joe: I think I can make up to 130 dollars a night on the weekends, maybe, and it's real easy because you don't need the education to make the money.
Kay: In Las Vegas, there are a lot of jobs that pay a lot for busboys and valets and such at the beginning, but as they get older, who wants to be a 45-year-old busboy or a 50-year-old valet? So if they're going to go up in management, they need to get more skills and more education.
Joseph: Without an education, there's really not much out there for you. At least he'll have the education to fall back on if this doesn't pan out for him, or if he moves on into a different field, it's there for him.
Teacher: We're going to be doing graphing of a line.
Joe: It's a different environment. The teachers are a lot more understanding. They help you out more. It's a good school to come to because they know your needs. They know you're working, so they really reward you for that. Everyone's pretty motivated because this is like your last shot here, basically, so everyone's just trying to get out and get the diploma.
Kay: Last year we had 100 graduates, and I think my biggest joy is seeing someone who came hesitatingly to our school and makes the honor roll and says, "Hey, I am going to graduate. I can do it."
Narrator: Before the semester ended, Ashleigh Scholler withdrew from Sunset for personal reasons, and Joe Paterna lost his job when Binion's Casino was temporarily shut down. He is focusing on his studies and graduated in June 2004.
For more information on what works in public education, go to Edutopia.org.