School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Ralph Marino

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Sociology of; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Education, Secondary


afterschool programs, graduation rates, hermeneutic phenomenology, high school dropouts


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


The purpose of this study was to determine the role of an afterschool program on students graduating high school. The study included students that were chosen using purposeful sampling who had recently graduated high school and participated in a school's afterschool program. A qualitative design was used with hermeneutical phenomenology being the focus in order for the researcher to highlight and interpret the lived experiences of the participants. Data was collected through interviews with recent graduates. The researcher's field notes were also used as a data collection procedure. The researcher analyzed the data through interpretive measures by coding the transcribed interviews and specifically identifying common themes regarding the experience of afterschool programs and the role after school programs had on graduating high school students. Three significant themes emerged in the findings: an improved overall self-worth of the students, a tangible connection between high school and career opportunities, and an establishment of connections between adults and the students.