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Stories from the Education Pipeline: John Martinez shares why he dropped out of high school

John Martinez, an 18-year-old Charlotte resident and former student at Garinger High School, started to disengage in middle school. Martinez said he did not feel understood by his family or teachers, so he started skipping school, running away from home, and spending time with friends who used drugs.

“They were good kids, but I guess we all went through like some type of stuff going on around us that nobody bothered to ask at school or no one paid attention to,” he said. By his third year with freshman-level credits, Martinez decided to drop out.

Watch and listen to Martinez’s story below. His is the first of four stories on individuals across North Carolina with nontraditional educational pathways. Read about North Carolina’s leaky educational pipeline at

Editor’s note: Greg Ascuitto is an EducationNC EdAmbassador

Liz Bell

Liz Bell is the early childhood reporter for EducationNC.