PHOENIX (KSAZ) - School is back in session, but this year, thousands of teens won't be returning to the classroom. The high school graduation rate in Arizona is just 76 percent, but the city of Phoenix and community leaders are working to change that.
It's not everyday the Mayor of Phoenix and members of the Phoenix Suns basketball team come knocking on your door -- or calling on your phone.
Mayor Greg Stanton, along with the Suns and the Phoenix Union High School District went door to door, speaking with parents and former students -- urging them to come back to class.
"As somebody who played in the NBA, I've had a long career. I know how important education is and I really want you to get back in school," said former Suns player Stephen Hunter.
Hunter grew up in Chicago and says education was the key to his success.
"I was able to stay firm, stick with it and get my high school diploma," he said.
Students who drop out of high school earn $400,000 less over their lifetime than those with a diploma -- and getting students back in school is a mission Hunter takes seriously.
"If you sign up for school, I promise you, I will get your number and I will stay in touch with you personally," he said. "Maybe invite you out to a Phoenix Suns game. I can take you to the locker room and you can see what education can do for you."
Along with traditional school days, the Phoenix Union High School District has online classes and night classes to help students who work or are behind in credits.