MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 14, 2012

Class preps seniors for success


— Hilldale High School offers seniors a class in college scholarships, budgets, job searches and more.

This is a worthwhile, though not strictly academic, class.

As any parent of a teen can report, teens come with an innate talent for procrastination.

Teens often put off doing the paperwork for scholarships. When they start working, they are easily distracted.

Students in the Hilldale class get information and guidance on scholarships, but they also get a time and place to do the work of applying.

Class participants, which include most of Hilldale’s 127 seniors, keep scholarship materials, college materials and applications in individual Senior Boxes in the class.

The students also get a push to complete the work for the scholarships promptly.

Larry Shanks, who teaches the class, advises his students to get their paperwork done early.

“The longer you wait, the longer they need to process the applications,” he told the class.

The class is paying off. Last year’s senior class earned  $3.5 million in scholarships, Shanks said.

The class offers other benefits. It teaches budgeting, career planning and other adult responsibilities — including voting.

High school counselor Judy Moore said 33 Hilldale seniors registered to vote after turning 18.

This class offers Hilldale High School students a hand up to get into college. It also helps to prepare teens at or nearing 18 for their role as adults.

Other area schools that don’t already offer a similar class should consider emulating Hilldale’s example.