By Annie Phun
This fall, the majority of the 430 seniors at Gabrielino High School will join millions of students nationwide in the daunting task of filling out college applications. Despite this, some students at Gabrielino High School feel that the administration places too much emphasis on attending college. However, Gabrielino is preparing students for college in order to offer them a safe route after high school.
According to the United States Department of Education, it is projected that in 2020, there will be approximately 23 million students in college, a huge contrast to the 2000 report that showed only 4.4 million college students. This is because citizens with college degrees are twice as likely to receive jobs when compared to their peers who only have high school diplomas, reported the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities.
“Gabrielino is pushing a college route because college opens doors,” explained Kathleen Monahan, AP United States History teacher. “The reality is that many vocational jobs are family trades. The A through G requirements are emphasized in our curriculum so that if a student decides to go to college, whether that be immediately or later on, they have the option of doing so.”
Many students argue that Gabrielino does not provide enough vocational classes. However, school reports show that courses in the curriculum that are not a part of the A-G subject requirements for college tend to suffer in attendance and enrollment. In fact, Principal Sharron Heinrich attests that students often ask for more courses that fit into the category of A-G.
In efforts to give students more options, the College and Career Center (CCC) teamed up with Alhambra Unified School District to offer Career Technical Education (CTE) classes after school, including Video Game Design and Restaurant Services. Furthermore, the CCC also hosts courses provided by Rio Hondo College in engineering and kinesiology and implemented the ACE Mentor Program that offers experience with architecture, construction, and engineering. However, these classes have also been shown to lack sufficient student interest, and the careers still require a form of higher education, whether that be trade school or vocational training.
“[Administration and I] always struggle with what courses to offer,” explained Heinrich. “This came up in the WASC meeting last year, and when we asked the students, they didn’t have an answer as to what real world connections they wanted.”
Thus, the issue is not that there are no opportunities but rather that students do not know what opportunities they want and therefore do not pursue what is available. NBC News reports that the teenage years are when stress levels reach their peak, and adding the pressure of figuring out one’s career path only serves to cause anxiety. A college campus is said to be the ideal place to explore multiple options.
Some may feel anxious because Gabrielino seems to be a college-oriented high school, but for other students, the constant reminders from emails sent by counselors or the CCC can serve as the reason why they choose to attend college. Gabrielino is simply providing the option for all students.