Career Opportunities Open Doors for Some SHS Grads


Haley Dockendorff, Staff Writer

No high school senior can avoid the inevitable question from family and friends, “So what are you doing next year?” At SHS, most students can agree there is pressure to attend a four-year college or university after graduation. The constant reminders to maintain your GPA begin the moment you walk through the door as a freshman and extend to the last day of your senior year.

Nevertheless, with skyrocketing tuition prices, limited accessibility, and a changing landscape of opportunity, some students are seeking a more non-traditional path.  

At SHS, senior Troy Pratt decided to put his college plans on hold, as he will be playing in a junior hockey league instead of attending college. 

“My decision not to go straight to college is because of my love for hockey, and that’s something I want to do, play college hockey, and playing junior hockey gives me the best opportunity to do that,” says Pratt. “I do want to play college hockey and hopefully study there to become an athletic trainer,” Pratt explained, elaborating on his post-graduate plans. 

“It was very relieving not having to apply for colleges and go through that process, but at the same time I had my own stresses about finding a junior team to play for and being scouted for different teams,” said Pratt.

Senior Chris Ray shares Pratt’s pragmatic approach as well as his interest in physical fitness. “I didn’t want to waste me and my family’s money going to a school I didn’t even like, so I decided I would get a job and make some money.” Ray added, “Once I’ve saved up some money, I will be taking a course to become certified in personal training.”

Ray originally planned on going to college, but later changed his mind. Once he knew he wasn’t going to college right out of high school, his senior year was much easier than he expected: “Not going to college made me realize my grades really don’t say much about who I am, contradictory to what the public school system teaches us. I really just want to graduate and start working on my own thing.”

Another senior, Evan McBrien, is in a similar situation. McBrien explained, “I originally was planning on attending a college, but things were so different because of COVID. I decided that the best thing for me was to work full-time and save up some money.” McBrien added, “I plan on working as a mechanic in a shop–it pays really well, and I gain a lot of free experience. I am also considering going to school for business later on in order to further my career.” 

Senior year is one of the busiest times–many students are juggling schoolwork, jobs, extra-curricular activities, and college applications. Once college-bound students narrow their search, extra time is usually dedicated to college tours and visiting campuses during accepted student days. Students who aren’t going to college have a different set of priorities. 

“One thing I started focusing my time this year on was my personal fitness and going to the gym,” says Ray. “As much as the pandemic has taken things away from me, I was able to find my passion and what I love to do.”

As for McBrien, he has been filling his time by working: “I try to work as much as possible so I can learn more and make more money. I am currently working as a mechanic, and I do a lot of side projects with my own cars.” 

Pratt has been busy preparing for hockey season, saying, “I have been staying in shape and practicing on the ice so I can perform my best when I go to play for junior hockey.”