Are YOU Prepared For Life After High School?


Angelina Bellizzi

Seniors Joey Russo, Devin Decker, & Ben Tortora

It can be daunting to think about – more or less plan for – life after SWHS, but what can you do to prepare, and what are others doing?

As students graduate high school and head off to college, they all have different plans for what they want to do in their future and what colleges they want to attend. South Windsor High school continues to exceed the nation’s 85.6% graduation rate with 97% of students graduating. South Windsor also is 7% above the average graduation rate in CT, which is 90%.

While roughly 85% of South Windsor students will attend a 4 year college, not all students have the same plan after graduating high school. According to SWHS school counseling, roughly 9.5% of students decided to enter the workforce. Another 1.5 percent of South Windsor students enroll in the military, which is 0.5 percent under the nationwide average. And, 2.5 percent of South Windsor students decided to go into a trade after high school.

However, statistics don’t always paint the most detailed picture. Five SWHS seniors were personally interviewed, showing a diverse set of goals and aspirations for life after high school. From the Ivy League to community college, the class of 2023 is getting prepared for post-graduation!

Chase Bonin, a member of the 2023 class, has decided to attend a trade school in New Haven to further pursue his passion for cars. “Gateway in New Haven focuses on automotive teaching. It also has a pact program where students get a full time job at Honda after college and a paid internship throughout their two years.” Bonin also plans to attend Manchester Community College to receive his needed ECE credits.

Bonin first became interested in cars from his grandpa and Dad, who would show him pictures of their old cars. “I also loved hot wheels as a kid,” he said. After finishing his education, Bonin explains how he “would love to work for Honda and Acura,” and have a job that he “really enjoys doing. My retail job right now blows.”

When asked if he was prepared for life after high school, Bonin explained how he feels like he is prepared. He highlighted the help he received from technology teacher Mr. Jarvis, who helped him on his capstone project, “which was really cool.”

Olivia Mogor, the 2023 class president, plans to attend New York University and major in nursing. Mogor explained how “NYU was my first choice but it wasn’t always that way. My sister goes to Northeastern, so after being on that campus, Northeastern was growing on me.” However, after touring the school last summer, she “chose [the] school because of its study abroad programs, which are amazing at NYU.”

When Mogor was asked if she felt that she was prepared for life after high school, she replied with “I think I was very prepared for life after high school…I have another sister who goes to a competitive school as well so she helped me with most of my college questions.” Mogor also specifically credited two science teachers at South Windsor High School, “Ms. Howard helped me explore careers down that science route and Mrs. Powell was very patient with me and my questions. That definitely reduced the stress of wondering if I’ll have nice professors in college.”

Senior Kaylie Guerrera went a different route with her future. Guerrera will be joining the Air Force National Guard pending her graduation. She cites her father and his military experience as a major inspiration in her choice to join the AFNG. Guerrera believes that the military will be beneficial to her because it will, “…set me up with experience for the jobs that I want to pursue later on, an experience that lots of people won’t get by just going to college.”

When asked when she knew pursuing a career in the military was the best choice for her she said, “I figured out towards the end of fall that it was what I wanted to do. I felt super behind compared to my other friends, because I wasn’t set on a college or major. I think it’s the right match for me because even though I know I want to get the college experience, I’m really excited to go through boot camp and technical training wherever it will be.”

Guerrera attributed a lot of her “college readiness” to her school counselor Mr. Briggs. She didn’t realize how much he could “…help me until I started regularly stopping in throughout the week.”

June is quickly approaching, meaning graduation, and the pursuit of these aspirations. For most, graduation leaves some feeling lost or unready for the future, so we talked to some post-graduate students of South Windsor High School to give an insight into college life.

Amanda Walsh, a SWHS alumni who graduated in 2022, reflected on her experience with the college application process, and her current life at university.

Walsh now attends Roger Williams and is on the Cross Country and Track team.
“Personally, I like the college social and learning experience much better in college” states Roger Williams student Amanda Walsh. She goes on to tell us that “It’s just more independence in the best way.”

For the social perspective of college, Walsh tells us that “a lot of growing up into an adult happens in college, and it’s been really cool to learn things…something that’s quite different from my high school friends.” Her college friends and teammates on track with her have shown her different things that she can do, and have taught her what it means to really become your own person.

While gaining a student and alumni perspective is important, what do the professionals have to say? Ms. Smith and Ms. Benashski, the duo who run the front desk of the school counseling department, pitched it to give us a step by step breakdown.

The first part of that is getting student resumes and information out to universities and colleges.
The biggest step is getting letters of recommendations from teachers to help boost the resumes as well as to help show the colleges who the person behind the numbers is. This is achieved by first requesting the letter from different teachers, Ms. Smith said. This will involve getting a form, which should be completed and handed to your guidance counselor. After that, the process is essentially complete, it’s all in the hands of the student. It is up to them to fill out the rest of the Common App information in order to fully apply to all their colleges.

Applying to college may be a ton of work, but what happens after you get into multiple schools? How do you make the best decision? Well, Ms. Carty, who heads the career center here at South Windsor High School, explained,“It all comes down to narrowing it down to the kind of school that each student wants to go to. Some want a campus school, others want a big city school. Some prefer warmer weather, which may also affect the decision.” The other obvious matter that plays into picking a school is the academics, and specifically what you want to study. “Some have (said) it is based on cost,” added Ms. Brown-Quinn, school counselor at South Windsor High School who deals with seniors on a regular basis.

Regardless of the goal or path, SWHS students are all on their way to their own personal success using the knowledge they gained during their years in SW.