80% of Wells public school grads off to college
June 20, 2012
By JUSTIN PEEPER
About eight out of every 10 seniors who graduated from one of Wells County’s three public high schools plan to attend college this fall.
The percentage of students from the Class of 2012 planning to pursue a four-year degree is about the same as last year’s seniors, but more Wells grads say they will attend two-year colleges.
The News-Banner spoke with guidance department officials at each public high school this spring and received information on 361 seniors from the Class of 2012.
Fifty-six percent of this year’s seniors plan to attend four-year schools while 25 percent say they will begin their degrees at two-year colleges or enter a technical, trade, associate, vocational or apprenticeship program — meaning that 81 percent of Wells graduates are planning to pursue an advanced degree.
The number of students who will study at a two-year college is up from last year. Some 19 percent of last year’s graduates announced they would attend a two-year college while 90 students from the Class of 2012 — 25 percent — will do the same this fall.
Of the 361 graduates, 203, or 56 percent, plan to attend a four-year college.
That figure is similar to last year’s class, when 57 percent of seniors from the Class of 2011 said they would attend a four-year college.
There were, however, 32 more seniors in the Class of 2011 than in the Class of 2012. Last year, 393 seniors graduated from Wells County’s public high schools. Both Norwell and Southern Wells had fewer seniors in this year’s class but Bluffton had more.
Similar to past years, most of the county’s top graduates will stay in Indiana to begin their post-high school education.
Philip Gerber, Bluffton High School’s valedictorian, will study engineering at Purdue University while salutatorian Jessica Bertsch will study nursing at Indiana University Purdue University - Fort Wayne.
Norwell High School does not recognize two top students but instead honors seniors who graduate with distinction — those who have earned an a grade point average of at least 11.0 on a 12.0 scale during their high school career. Fifteen students earned this honor and 13 of them will stay in Indiana.
Southern Wells’ top three graduates will all study at Ball State University. Valedictorian Bryce Longenberger will study English education, salutatorian Brandon Longenberger will study meteorology and Kathryn Pinkerton will study speech pathology.
Approximately 90 graduates, or 25 percent of the total seniors, say they will attend a two-year college, pursue a technical, associate, trade or vocational degree, or enter an apprenticeship — an increase of 6 percentage points when compared to last year’s class.
Seventeen graduates, 5 percent, have plans to join the military — nearly identical to last year’s findings.
Approximately 51 graduates, or 14 percent, plan to enter the work force or fill their time with something else.
Fewer graduates are planning to enter the work force or fill their time with something else based off what The News-Banner discovered last year.
In 2011, approximately 77 graduates, or 20 percent, were expected to begin working or fill their time some other way.
School officials cautioned the numbers could change at any time because students sometimes change their plans.