As we have welcomed in a new senior class and launched full swing into a new academic year, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on our 2016 graduates. Where are they now?
We pride ourselves on preparing all of our students for the array of opportunities they pursue after high school. From college to the career force to the military to technical schools, our students branch out taking every track imaginable.
From 2016’s graduating class, 69% enrolled in a 4-year university. 20% enrolled in a 2-year college. 3% enlisted in the military. The final 8% entered the workforce, took a gap year, or pursued other opportunities.
Statistics are great, but they don’t tell the full story. To fully encapsulate life after graduation, we connected with two 2016 graduates to hear about their journey.
Adjusting To College Life
Cheyne Ostrander chose to further her education at the University of California, Berkeley.
“I wanted to go to a four-year university because I think it will give me a deliberate opportunity to expand my friendships, interests, knowledge, self-awareness, and responsibility. I knew leaving home would enable me to focus on learning how to live independently.”
While classes only started in mid-August, the new school atmosphere is proving to be exactly what Cheyne was seeking.
“I’m incredibly excited to be in an environment with people who have excelled across a myriad of fields.”
“I am also excited to learn. This year I am taking a smorgasbord of classes: Art History, Environmental Design, Astronomy and Peace and Conflict Studies. I am excited to be a student of such a prestigious staff of professors. I believe attending this university will help me sample fields that I might be interested in and, ultimately, help me to find something I love that may help me build a career.”
Pursuing an academically challenging university hasn’t fazed Cheyne. She attributes that to the rigorous curriculum built into Coronado High School.
“CUSD, being a top-tier school, prepared me to attend a top-tier university. Going to Berkeley is not much different than going to Coronado. There are intelligent, confident students all around me and I’m comfortable with the competition and rigor.”
One class in particular stood out when comparing the two academic environments.
“I cannot stress how important my English classes were. Already at Berkeley, I have found myself engaged in intellectual conversations and class discussions, which without the prior experience I received at Coronado, I would be so unprepared.”
Despite still working to determine her major, Cheyne has large ambitions for the future.
“My initials are CEO, so one day I hope to be Cheyne Elyse Ostrander, CEO of some company. I want to help to create a more sustainable, tolerant, and conscious world. I want to be an ambassador of the earth, taking care of it and leaving it in better shape for future generations.”
In reflecting on her high school experience, Cheyne remarked that there was, “a very clear track to ‘success and I took it.” Advanced classes, sports, clubs, volunteering and more, Cheyne pursued it all.
“I did all things I thought would enable me to go to college. Now I’m here and as I consider my future, there are no ingredients to success. Here at Berkeley, everyone I meet got good grades and was ASB President or valedictorian.”
“I must define success for myself and I cannot rely on a letter grade or a position to help me glide to success. I must think bigger than ‘get into a good college’ and I must consider what impact I want to make on the world or what things I want to learn about.”
Tackling a New Career Track
Robin Shepherd ventured out on a new path.
“I wanted something challenging. I wanted to challenge my person and what I stand for. I figured if I could do one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the world, well, then I could conquer anything life throws at me.”
To embark on that challenge, Robin elected to pursue a life as a deep-sea fisherman, which he will be starting in early 2017.
“I’m excited to travel. I’m excited to get away and meet people that work harder than anyone else I have previously met. I am most excited about finding out what I’m made of and if I’m going to be able to stand up and rise when I’m at my lowest point.”
Just as high school prepared Cheyne for college, Robin believes that Coronado High helped prepare him for his journey into the professional world.
“Coronado High is by far the best high school in the states in my opinion. The teaching staff makes Coronado a welcoming place. The teachers really strive to help you with whatever problems you may be facing. You really get that one on one experience most kids need in order to excel at school. “
“I was never told I wasn’t going to be able to do something. They were always truthful with me and that’s what matters most. If I wanted to do something that I knew was out of my skill level they would help me reach my goals and keep pushing me until I had reached them.”
On transitioning from high school to a full-time position, Robin commented, “My biggest adjustment was working full time again. I forgot how much I missed working.”
When looking to the future, Robin highlighted that he wants to “Be happy.” Rather than pursuing material possessions, he wants to prioritize fulfillment.
“No matter how much money you have, how big your house is, or how expensive your car is, it won’t mean anything unless you are happy.”
Advice to Incoming Seniors
Both students had parting thoughts for current seniors.
“Senior year, at least for me, was the last year where everything was predictable. I knew my friends, I knew my way around town. I knew what classes were like. I kind of felt like I knew everything. I definitely did not,“ Cheyne commented.
Cheyne continued with, “I would tell incoming seniors to take the opportunity to be unpredictable; do things you wouldn’t normally do, hang out with new people, explore different interests while you’re still at home. It might help inform the things you want to do, people you want to surround yourself with, and interests you want to pursue when you’re on your own. And if anything, it will make the year more interesting,”
“School is an extremely small fraction to your life as a whole. Make the most of it but remember just one thing. You have your whole life ahead of you and school doesn’t necessarily define who you are. When you’re fifty no one is going to care what high school you graduated from or your GPA. Make the most out of school but don’t let it control your life,” Robin remarked.