A new push to boost graduation rates in Hillsborough County has one Bay area program thriving under pressure.

The Tampa YMCA's Teen Achiever Program provides tutoring to high schoolers who need it most.

"I think all of our students are capable of learning," said program director Wayne Johnson. "Some of them don't have momentum or the support from adults once they leave school to be successful."

Johnson said the one-on-one attention from the program is working at Blake High School this year. Grades have improved over the first nine weeks of school.

"I changed my grade from a D to a B," said Blake freshman Sylbourne King. "Working at the Y, they help us a lot."

Before coming to the Y, King said he liked being the class clown.

"I wasn't taking it as seriously as it was supposed to be taken," King admitted.

Other students said the program has helped with a lot more than academics.

"Before, I was really shy and I would never speak to anyone," said Blake senior Mai Nguyen. "Like, I would never step out of my box. I would just sit in the corner and observate everything. But right now, I feel OK to come up to a person and talk to them."

The students in the program have been handpicked by school officials because they need extra help. The ultimate goal is to boost their grade point averages and put the students on track to graduate from high school.

Nearly 300 teens in Hillsborough and Pasco counties are part of the Teen Achievers program.