MONROE — Proud parents lined up a photo of their Monroe High School senior walking across stage Friday and snapped a picture.
Jeff and Sharla Hutson weren’t taking the typical graduation photo. It was “Decision Day” at Monroe High School.
The parents were there to celebrate Brytnea Patterson declaring to Eastern Michigan University. Ms. Hutson, her mother, said it was great to see her walk across the stage and see what other students are doing post graduation.
“I like to see the big ol’ smiles on their faces,” Mr. Hutson said. “This is good to promote the kids going to college. We never had this when I was in school.”
It was only the second year for the ceremony, which came with second-year principal Valerie Orr. An alumni student speaker gave advice, then about 400 seniors walked across the stage as their name and plans were announced. Students had poster boards for their universities, colleges, business plans, or military branches.
“It was kind of a reality check that it is really over,” Sydney Stewart said about her high school days. “... A lot of students kept their decisions a secret and said, ‘I don’t know, you’ll find out decision day.’ It’s cool to see where everyone is going.”
Several colleges had representatives there to greet students off stage. Kojo Quartey, president of Monroe County Community College, was there shaking hands. His college had the largest number of students attending.
“This is my favorite day of the whole year,” Mrs. Orr said. “Last year was the first time we did it, and it was my favorite day in my career. This is what it’s all about.”
She said this is how she sees the district’s “babies” off.
Ninety percent of the roughly 400 students graduating submitted their postsecondary plans to walk across the stage. The district must see paperwork confirming those plans for students to be included. Instead of schools, some students held signs for farming, the Monroe County Road Commission, and other businesses, plus some for the Army, Navy, and Marines.
A live stream on YouTube went out to each district class as another way to promote to younger students the idea of continuing one’s education.
The few students who didn’t attend are meeting with student services representatives.
“We met with the small number of students, we want to know what they are going to do and how we can help,” Mrs. Orr said. “I don’t think a high school diploma is enough anymore. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the work force, we want to know how they’re going to continue training.”
Jonathon Brown was the final student to choose. His 4.0 grade-point average and 33 ACT score helped him get accepted by Yale, Harvard, and other prestigious schools. He decided on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
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