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*** Smith, who was recently named to the Hamilton County Board of Education, worries about the kids who don't have a way to get to the adult high school.Many dropouts realize a few months — or years — later that they made a mistake, he said, but they don't have a way to correct it."As a young man, I made a lot of mistakes in my life, and there were folks that were there to give me another chance, and sometimes a third chance and even a fourth chance," Smith said.A lot of the county's dropouts deserve another chance, Smith believes.Landgrave, like Hilley, grew up in poverty and didn't think he'd be a high school graduate."I thought I'd still be living on the streets," he said.
There are ideas about creating pipelines for students to earn post-secondary credentials or degrees after graduating from the high school and preparing students to enter the workforce.The school board ultimately abandoned the idea in 2009, deciding it was too expensive.Many of the students enrolled at Hamilton County High School are from high schools in that portion of the county — Central, East Hamilton, Ooltewah, Tyner and Brainerd.Kuehn has pushed for starting additional locations several times during the 10 years he's been principal at the school, but each time it hasn't worked out.In 2007, Hamilton County Schools leaders said they wanted to create two new locations, one in the Hixson area and another one downtown.