Senior Send Off


Maya Airoldi, Writer

One of the hardest choices in a young person’s life is what they want to do after they graduate high school. The choice they make will shape the rest of their life. The first thing to think about is the options one has. Generally, there are three options; college, military, or workforce/gap year.

But how do high school students decide where they want to go or what they want to do with their newly found freedom? As it turns out, there are a variety of reasons as to how a senior may chooses what to do after high school.

On April 28th, 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report on the college enrolment and work activity of 2015 high school graduates in America. By looking back at Bellows Free Academy’s 2014-2015 yearbook and seeing what BFA graduates did, it is easy to compare the numbers.

According to the BLS’s report, by October 2015, 69.2% of 2015 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities. Looking at the “Where are they going?” page in the yearbook’s spring supplement and tallying up what people did, it turns out that 87% of BFA 2015 graduates went to college.

Annabeth McGovern was one BFA 2015 graduate who decided to go to college. “I chose to go to school because I felt like that was the way I could be the best version of myself. For some people, they can achieve this through the military or the workplace but others can’t. I wanted to be able to have opportunities to expand my world perspective and learn about myself, my community, and my chosen field,” said Annabeth McGovern (‘15).

Annabeth is in her freshman year at Elmira College and will be entering her sophomore year next August. “Granted it’s at a pretty expensive price, I think it’s been worth it so far,” said McGovern.

College can be very expensive. It’s crazy to think that kids right out of high school ought to be able to pay for it upfront in full. If cost is a big issue for newly grads, there are other options.

Nationally, less than 0.004% of newly graduated high schoolers will join the Army. Still, a brave few do decide to enlist. At BFA, 0.22% joined the military. One of the few being Bennett Bushy-Tracy who joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Bennett Bushy-Tracy (‘15) said, “I realized [the military] gives me a good purpose in life, to do something good for something bigger than myself and to protect the people I care about.”

The military is a great option if you’re looking for another family while being able to protect your primary one. More than that, the military comes with many benefits, no matter your branch. “They pay for everything that you need, housing, food, some travel, medical, and dental care. After a certain amount of time, you get a tuition so you can go to college for free, which is all going to let me save up my money for when I eventually get out and come back home and start a family.”

Of course, not everyone is interested in serving in the military and not everyone can. Another option is to go see the world for yourself. Out of Bellows Free Academy’s 2015 graduates, 0.009% took a year or so off to travel.

Mary Tobin (‘15) said, “I really had no idea what I wanted to do after high school.  I had applied for colleges and got into many, with many scholarships on top, but I didn’t want to waste my time going to a University and spending thousands and thousands of dollars just because that’s ‘what one does after high school.’ I thought it was silly to go to school just for the sake of going to school.”

Instead of going to college, Tobin became an exchange student and is in Germany attending a second senior year right now. “I decided to have an exchange year to figure out a little bit about myself and what I would like to do with my life,” said Tobin.

Every person is different and needs to make the choice of what they are going to do after high school for themself. Luckily, there are millions of options out there and many tools to help you pick one. To this year’s graduating class, good luck!