Wayne County Seniors Preparing for Future
Some 229 members of Wayne County High School’s Class of 2015 are currently busy making plans for their future. While it is an exciting time in their lives, it can also be a bit stressful or overwhelming.

Wayne County High School educators understand the burden seniors carry in competing for scholarships, filling out financial aid applications, and determining where to go to college, join the workforce, or perhaps go into the military. There are lots of final decisions to be made after preparing for these events for so long.

“When you are an adult you sometimes wish you were back in your teenage years; but today’s young people have so many choices, as well as obstacles, it can be a bit overwhelming for them to wonder what their future holds,” said Wayne County High School Counselor Elizabeth Miller. “We want to help them become successful and be productive citizens.”

Fortunately, local students have had the opportunity to go on school-hosted college visits, receive help in raising ACT scores, and confer with specialists as they and their families make the transition into postsecondary opportunities.

Most recently, a day long workshop was held for seniors and their parents to drop by the high school media center at their convenience and complete their financial aid application, known as FAFSA, which opened up January 1. Students are urged to complete their FAFSA forms in a timely manner because they are used to facilitate state grant money which runs out eventually and is administered on a first-come, first-serve basis.Families were assisted by a team of specialists who answered their questions and brought them up to speed with the computerized online process. Counselor Elizabeth Miller coordinated the recent open house with expert Audrey Fowler, Southern Kentucky Area Outreach Coordinator for the Kentucky Higher Education Association Authority who provide the Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES). She was joined by Kendra Leveridge, Admissions Counselor for Lindsey Wilson College. Both specialists, as well as a host of others, have made more than one trip to the local campus to make themselves available to local students.

“I feel like I have more students I know more personally this year,” noted Leveridge, who represents a private Methodist liberal arts college. “It seems to have been easier to build relationships with the kids here.”
Besides meeting Wayne County seniors on the local campus, she has also had interactions with local students who have visited her college, or participated in college fairs. For instance, she met Seniors Braxton Shearer and Morgan Sexton at Bellarmine College through the Governor’s Scholar Program last summer.

“You have a good pool of bright, easy down-to-earth students. They are weighing their options and they have a lot of questions,” said Leveridge. “They want to compete for every scholarship and they want to be successful.”
Last year she said her college ended up with four Wayne County graduates, but normally she averages about eight to ten Wayne County graduates who select Lindsey Wilson.

Both specialists advise students to work towards making good grades, get involved in their school and community, and keep their ACT score as high as possible in order to make themselves more appealing to college recruiters.
Wayne County Senior Austin Durham is considering an in-state option where he could further his skills in computerized design work. He said the FAFSA work session “was really helpful.” He and his mother just wanted to make sure they were filling out the form correctly. “It wasn’t too complicated, but if I’d been at home filling it out, I wouldn’t have anyone to answer a question, so it was good to have someone there to help.”
Parent Jerry Dennis said his son Cody is interested in a forestry department land management degree. They are weighing Cody’s options looking at Murray State since it has a program to meet his forestry goal. But, they are also considering a school in Florida.

“I’m so appreciative of this help session,” said Dennis. “This school has been wonderful and the merger has been so helpful to my son.” Cody had attended Monticello Independent prior to the closure. “It (the merger) has been such a blessing,” added the father in regard to the new resources his son can take advantage of.

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