S.T.A.R.S. firmly believes that the middle schools years are a critical “make or break” period for many students. More than half of all middle school students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, NC, are considered “at-risk.” This means that these students are more likely to experience academic difficulties, leave home, and commit crimes or abuse alcohol and drugs. This alarming statistic is one of the reasons that we selected at-risk middle school students as our primary focus area. Strategic investments to support at-risk middle school youth, are made in order to ultimately improve high school graduation and retention rates in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, NC.