Graduation exercises at area high schools will be in full swing this week. Exercises at the four high schools in northern Logan County began on Thursday, May 8 and will conclude on Monday, May 19.
Many area graduates are planning to further their education or do something beyond high school, such as join the military. Those who plan to enter the job market with just a high school diploma will have a tough time, according to one local educator.
"If you’re planning on going to work right out of high school, it’s a very tough market, especially in our area," Britt Bauer, principal at Paris High School, said last week. "These days, kids have to have something beyond high school. We’ve stressed that to our kids."
Bauer also said that continuing education is very important and there are some career paths open that don’t require a bachelor’s degree from college.
"Things have shifted and bachelors degrees are becoming not the best path for some of our kids," Bauer said. "The job market has become flooded with bachelor degree graduates.
"The big need in the job market these days is in technical area where you have a two- or three-year educational program," Bauer said."The market is wide open for these types of graduates."
Bauer specifically mentioned areas such as robotics, welding, plumbing, electricians, nursing (or any area in the health field) computer and information systems and air conditioning repair as fields needing additional workers.
"Those are some of the hottest, most wide open job markets," he said.
In order to stress the importance of something beyond high school, Paris High School started a program three years ago called Release the Eagles. In this program, seniors gather in the school gymnasium to make a public commitment to something beyond high school, whether it’s college, a technical school or a commitment to military service. The remainder of the student body sits in the bleachers to watch the ceremony.
"They get to watch the seniors make a commitment to something beyond high school and the students are really buying into it," Bauer said. "It’s like they are getting to see what 13 years of education is all about."
Here’s a rundown of completed and upcoming commencement exercises at area high schools:
• Scranton High School: Commencement exercises were held on Thursday, May 8 in the high school gymnasium. Commencement speakers were Valedictorians Marisa Blaschke and Colton Horn and Salutatorian Coltin Johnston. Diplomas were given to 32 seniors by Superintendent Dr. James Bridges and School Board President Rodney Brewer. Mark Siebenmorgen, high school principal, recognized senior awards and scholarships. Other honor graduates were Brandon Berg, Michael Bolding, Chelsea Evans, Breana Fritsche, Lauren Green, Heather Hanks, Richard Harris, Mason Koch, Rebecca Pintado, Sierra Shannon, Cory White and Samantha Yang.
• Paris High School: Graduations exercises will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the gymnasium on the Paris High School campus. There are 77 graduates this year. Highest Honors graduates are Kyra Austin, Rachel Hamilton, Christa Huber, Allison Robberson, Abby Suiter, Nalee Vang and Delaney Wilks. They will take part in the ceremony by either delivering a speech, welcoming the audience, leading a prayer or conducting the closing.
High Honors graduates are Baily Atchison and Shendri’ Anna Martines. Honors graduates are Sidney Bowman, Andrew Bridges, Andrew Burnett, Jordan Forbis and Nathaniel Robertson.
• Subiaco Academy: Subiaco Academy will hold commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Inner Court at Subiaco Abbey. A graduation mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m. The Valedictorian is Sam Chisholm of Germantown, Tenn. The Salutatorian is Daniel Heinrichs of Fort Smith. The commencement address will be delivered by Bill Lux, a 1966 graduate of Subiaco Academy and president of the Academy Board of Trustees.
• County Line High School: Commencement exercises will be held Monday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in the County Line School District Auditorium. Co-Valedictorians are Trent Gattis and Maranda Watson. The Salutatorian is Marina Gonzalez-Irvin. They will give speeches. Diplomas will be awarded by David Morris, president of the County Line School Board.