Large number of students left school during college preparation activities

Hailey McEntee, Co-Editor

On College Readiness Day, Oct. 12, around 220 students got checked out after taking the PLAN, PSAT or the practice ACT.
Principal Scott Bacon said the reason many students left was that they didn’t think it was going to be an important opportunity.
“I think the reason to get checked out that the students gave to their parents was that they weren’t doing anything,” Bacon said. “There is never a day at Blue Valley High School that we plan to do nothing. We had a lot of activities planned for their benefit. The activities were based off of feedback we got from previous students.”
Attendance secretary Jan Wilcoxon said between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m., the attendance hotline received about 100 phone calls to check students out. This took place right before the college preparation activities began.
“Most were saying their student didn’t have anything to do that afternoon,” she said. “Some [parents] were letting them go because they had homework. Some said their student had an appointment.”
Bacon said the students who left missed valuable information about how to pick colleges and how to get accepted.
“They missed the opportunity to develop a résumé,” he said. “Also, they missed out on seeing websites used to search for colleges based off of their interests. They also missed the opportunity to see what resources there are for scholarship opportunities. They also missed out on hearing from a college panel of students and professors.”
Bacon said not many schools do activities like the college panel. He said it was a good way to get information to the students.
“We want to work with students in a mature way to inform them,” he said.
Junior Steph Woltkamp said she did not attend because she already knew the requirements to get into her college of choice.
“I felt since I already know where I am going to college, it wouldn’t benefit me as much as it would benefit other students,” she said.
Sophomore Ashlynn Summar said the college preparation activities were helpful and informative.
“I think a lot of the kids who skipped it missed a lot of important information,” she said. “It’s kind of a big deal.”
Bacon said it is hard to see the students miss out on valuable information by leaving school.
“It’s very frustrating to see this happen,” he said. “We tried to inform the students and parents about what was going to be happening. We really need parental commitment, too.”
Wilcoxon said the counseling office did a lot to plan for the college preparation activities.
“It is an insult to the people who put a lot of work into the events,” she said. “Parents need to double-check that there is a legitimate reason they are checking their child out.”
Woltkamp said she didn’t think leaving before the college preparation activities was a big deal at the time.
“After the college thing, I heard a lot of the teachers were really upset about students leaving because they felt they had done so much for it, and so many students just left,” she said. “I think if I had known that it would be like that — like teachers being so disappointed — I probably wouldn’t have left, but I hadn’t seen it as a big deal.”
Bacon said everyone in the school community is needed to make school activities effective.
“It takes us all doing our part to make our activities a success,” he said. “It takes the administration planning, the parents supporting and the students attending.”