Valley student wins fight against CCSD to study abroad - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Valley student wins fight against CCSD to study abroad

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Student Alexandra Gainey will study abroad in South Korea. (Kathleen Jacob/FOX5) Student Alexandra Gainey will study abroad in South Korea. (Kathleen Jacob/FOX5)

A rising senior at Las Vegas High School is heading to South Korea to study abroad, but she said the process has been a nightmare.

Alexandra Gainey found out she received the national scholarship in April, but said her dreams were crushed when the Clark County Schoo told her if she accepted it, she would be considered a dropout.

Gainey is one of about 600 students to get the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. It's a government funded program for high school students to study abroad and study critical languages like Hindi, Chinese, Russian, and Korean.

"I was ecstatic because I applied for the scholarship last year, unfortunately didn't get it but I applied again my junior year and I finally got it," Gainey said.

It sounds like the perfect ending, but instead, Gainey said it was just the beginning of a long, frustrating process.

"I wasn't sure about the process of withdrawing and re enrolling into a school so I contacted my counselor and she advised us to contact CCSD. CCSD,  when we told them about the situation and the scholarship, they said that if I accepted the scholarship, I would be considered a drop out and would have to go to adult school," Gainey said.

At first, Gainey said CCSD told her she would be too old to come back to school.

"We reminded them that at the time I was only 16 and when I come back from the program I would only be 17 and so after we reminded them of that fact they changed their minds and said that I would be abandoning my duty as a student," Gainey said.

She then went on to contact her principal, the superintendent, associate superintendent, board of trustees, and even the office of Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto.

"Senator Cortez-Masto's office did help us. Unfortunately, all the other departments and offices either ignored us or gave us the same answer of adult schools," Gainey said.

After a lot of pushing, Gainey said CCSD agreed to meet.

"They claim there was misinformation and they didn't understand what was going on," Gainey said.

Gainey said it took months, but she finally got permission to go study in Korea, and not be considered a dropout.

"Don't let somebody of a higher position or anything like that deter you from accomplishing something great. Use your resources that are available to you like I did with the Senator’s office and fight back."

FOX5 reached out to CCSD. They did not immediately respond to specific questions about Gainey’s situation, but they did send us documentation they say outlines the rules about student requirements.

If you’d like to help with Gainey’s trip, click here.

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