Harris' Heroes: Darrin Slade, a high school principal making a big difference

Principal Darrin Slade. (WJLA)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Several students who might have dropped out of school are high school graduates this summer because of one principal in D.C.'s Ward 7.

Since Darrin Slade arrived at H.D. Woodson High School two years ago, the attendance rate has climbed from 54 per cent to 68 per cent.

Slade keeps a close eye on his students because he knows that showing them someone cares can help keep them out of trouble.

He knows every single one of the students by name. And he watches them succeed.

James Thomas is a junior. He admits he was heading down the wrong path a few years ago, fighting, skipping class. Until Principal Slade showed up.

"He helps a lot with students,” Thomas says. “Well, my father's dead, but I look at him like a father figure."

Although he has dramatically raised the attendance rate, Slade's biggest challenge is still students who simply don't see the point in coming to school.

"And a lot of our students come from very rough situations at home,” Slade says. “Some have parents who are incarcerated. We have some students who are foster kids, but when they come into the building, we try to make them feel at home and like a family.”

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