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WANT TO DROP OUT? THINK TWICE, SLACKER!

Is school a drag? Tough it out, or it'll cost you. The 104,000 Florida students who didn't graduate in 2009 can expect to lose $27 billion in lifetime earnings, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. So get your diploma, or get one of those spiffy cardboard street corner signs.

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And the GED won't work for you, either

The state this summer killed the "GED exit option," an escape hatch by which students who dropped out or failed too many classes could still earn a standard diploma by passing the GED test. Now they'll just get a Diploma Light. Good luck getting a good job with that.

Last year, 172 Pinellas students and 301 Hillsborough students got standard diplomas by GED.

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Come together

Beatles fans (and everyone else across the universe) know The Beatles: Rock Bandvideo gamecame out this week. If that didn't satisfy your Beatles craving, WMNF-88.5 is planning a Beatles concert Sept. 26 at Skipper's Smokehouse. Twenty local bands will perform and two bands will re-create Abbey Road and Yellow Submarine. Tribute shows tend to sell out; get your tickets early at wmnf.org.

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More 2 the mall

More2Life, an Internet cafe and video game hangout space, at Tyrone Mall in St. Petersburg, has Wii, PS3 and Wii Fit rooms. Go there for a "Hook Up Session" (yes, they really are called that) during which you can watch short movies about making good choices. The space is paid for by a federal grant and is run by New Life Solutions, a faith-based nonprofit that normally focuses on abstinence but promises no preaching.

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