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Newsroom Governor Brownback recognizes at-risk Kansas teen who turned her life around

​Topeka – Monday, Governor Sam Brownback and Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore celebrated the achievements of 17-year-old Destiny Shelton, who just graduated from Stafford High School.
Shelton faced tremendous hardship growing up including the death of her father, poverty and neglect. After successfully completing the new Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program, she was named one of 21 students across the country to receive a Smith Scholarship from the JAG National Committee. The Stafford High School student has been accepted to the University of Kansas where she will pursue a degree in psychology.
“Students like Destiny show the important role the JAG program plays in helping them be successful in school and in life,” said Governor Brownback. “I congratulate every Kansas JAG student. Their hard work has resulted in a 94 percent graduation rate for students who were considered ‘at risk’ for dropping out.”
JAG is a multi-year program for students in grades 9 through 12 offers tools to successfully transition into postsecondary school or the labor market. Participants are selected for the program who are at risk of dropping out of high school and/or have a difficult home life. 
Governor Brownback led the effort to introduce JAG into Kansas schools. The project, funded by DCF, is completing its first full school year in the state. Without intervention from the JAG program, the Kansas students served would likely have had an estimated 50 percent graduation rate. Since its implementation, the Kansas JAG program has been the largest and most successful JAG start up in the history of the national program. Currently 875 students are involved in JAG and that is expected to double by next school year.
For more information on the JAG program, visit the national website at

Governor Brownback posing for a photo with JAG participant and administrators.

From left to right: Stafford High School Principal Russ Orton, Kansas JAG Director Matthew Fearing, Destiny Shelton, Governor Brownback and JAG Specialist Brad Lingafelter, May 19, Topeka.

Governor Brownback with Destiny Shelton.

Stafford High School student Destiny Shelton is recognized by Governor Brownback for being named a national scholar.

Governor Brownback posing with student, family and administrators from Stafford.