MUSCATINE, Iowa–As seniors at Muscatine High School count down the days to graduation, they also look forward to the next chapter of their lives, whether they plan to attend a community college, trade school or apprentice program, or a college or university. To celebrate students taking the next steps in their educational careers, Muscatine High School held their sixth annual Senior Decision Day April 22.
As a partner site for Course to College, Muscatine High School Career Planning Counselor Kerry Hawkins helps ensure that students work through all the steps it takes to identify post secondary education options that will work for students and possible career paths that could interest them. In their early years of high school, students hear from guest speakers in different professions, explore different career paths, and have job shadow experiences to help them determine what coursework to take to prepare them for the educational pathway that appeals to them most.
On Oct. 4, 2022, seniors could participate in College Application Day, where they received assistance applying to a program or programs they would like to pursue. Throughout the winter, students could get additional help completing the Federal Application for Student Aid (or FAFSA), as well as local scholarship applications, putting continuing education in reach financially. Senior Decision Day allows students to celebrate their choices before they go off on the next leg of their journey. After graduation, Muscatine High School works with Aligned Impact Muscatine County to help students transition to their next level of education.
Though this year’s Senior Decision Day proved somewhat smaller than those in past years, as the event has only just returned to an in-person format after two years of virtual video celebrations, it still honored students preparing for a variety of post-secondary opportunities. 39 students announced their intent to attend a college, university, or community college or enter a trade. Students will attend Arizona State University, Brigham Young University, Iowa State University, Kirkwood Community College, Muscatine Community College, North Central College, Northern Oklahoma College, Saint Ambrose University, Saint Mary’s University of Winona, Minnesota, the University of Arizona, the University of Dubuque, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Wisconsin, and Upper Iowa University, and begin careers in the construction trades.
To make the day particularly special, faculty and staff members wore gear from the college or university they graduated from to give younger students an idea of the wide variety of options available to them. “It’s a fun day for staff to share with students about their own experiences,” observed Hawkins.
This year, Ben Pohl, a family medicine provider at UnityPoint Clinic in Muscatine and graduate of Muscatine High School, shared how his post secondary education allowed him to have a career in medicine. He also spoke about the mindset students need to achieve success, no matter what field they go into. “He also addressed students and how their wellbeing and drive to be better each and everyday would help them be successful beyond high school; he shared a great message!” Hawkins said.
With only a few short weeks before seniors go their separate ways, Hawkins felt Senior Decision Day gave each student who participated time to share their choices with those who matter most to them, “It’s a way for students to get recognized for taking the next step after high school and making a commitment to their futures.”