Finally!!!! But, wait, what happens next??? What are
the choices? Have I taken the right classes to do that? How
do I apply for that? Can I afford to do that? These are
questions juniors and seniors and their parents face every year.
Even freshmen and sophomores need to be planning for their future.
A relatively small number of our graduates go on to pursue any kind of
post-secondary education. As Mr. Bishop wrote about our graduates
“The challenges faced by their parents of providing a higher education
aren’t explored to their fullest extent. These kids, and parents,
are giving up far too early in the process and settling for something
less than a life beyond high school that includes advanced training or
education.” We spend some time during Wednesday’s orientation on
schedules, education plans and profiles, but, as Josh Napper says about
applying for college “it would be a great idea if the students better
understand the process and how easy it could be, it could and would
widen their possibilities for the choices they have after high school.”
Mr. Prestianni and Mr. Gianotti agree and decided that we need to set up a program to teach students and their parents about the two and four year college and vocational education available as well as how to be prepared to apply for and finance that education. To do that the school applied for a VISTA member to work here for the next three years. VISTA is a national service program that, as their web site says, sends members to nonprofit organizations to strengthen communities and fight poverty. That application was approved and now Mr. Prestianni is looking over the applications to choose who that VISTA member will be.
We plan to have the VISTA member set up a program that will include activities during orientation to help students learn about the opportunities there are after high school, figure out how to prepare an education plan and profile to fit their high school and post-secondary goals, a college night to help students and parents learn how to apply for college and financial aid, and recruit mentors from the community to assist students in planning for their future.
Learning doesn’t end at high school graduation. In today’s world young people need more education to get the secure jobs they need to support themselves and their future families. We need to, as our mission statement says, “provide students with the skills and opportunities to become strong leaders, effective workers, positive communicators, and great citizens of the world.”