ORANGEBURG — Forty volunteers, including the leader of a South Carolina school district, knocked on doors as they tried to get students who haven’t gone to class this school year to return to their studies.

Among those who went door-to-door Saturday was Cynthia Wilson, superintendent of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5, WIS-TV reported (

“We’re interested in (student) coming back to school,” Wilson told a mother. “She hasn’t returned yet. We want her to come back so that she can finish her education and graduate.”

Wilson started the “Reach Out for Dropouts” program two years ago. Forty volunteers broke up into teams looking for 35 absent students. Two of those students are in middle school.

“We’re all over Orangeburg this morning going door to door and trying to get our kids back,” Wilson told one parent who answered the door.

The mother told Wilson her daughter is behind in her grade level and is considering a GED. Wilson explained absent students have options with the district. They can complete evening or online courses to get caught up.

She hoped her pitch worked.

“Just give us another opportunity,” Wilson told the mother. “We hope we’ll see her Monday morning.”

As she left, the mother thanked her for trying to help the students. “If I have to go get them wherever they are and bring them back, that’s what I’m here for,” Wilson said.

The school district’s dropout rate is 2.5 percent, slightly lower than the state’s average of 3 percent.

“We really don’t want to waste a whole lot of time because as time passes, it gets harder and harder to catch up,” said district Dropout Prevention Coordinator Watson Cleckley.

Wilson and her colleagues had some success. School officials said six kids re-enrolled and will be back in school Monday.