The Class of 2021 at Orange County High School is just days away from graduating and heading out into the world to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. A survey completed by 213 of the roughly 300 seniors displays the wide variety of schools, training and career paths that students are looking forward to.
Approximately two thirds of those who responded (137) said they will be attending college next year with Germanna Community College being the most common destination overall.
Of those going to college: 59 will be attending a four-year institution in Virginia, with James Madison University accepting the most students; 16 will be attending a four-year institution out of state with Florida Gulf Coast University accepting the most students; 57 students will be attending community college or a two-year school with Germanna Community College accepting the most students; two students are undecided on what college they will be attending; one student is attending a community college in Alabama; one student is attending college online; one student is attending college in China (Duke Kunshan University).
Sixteen students said they will be joining the military, 11 students said they will be attending technical or vocational school and 49 students said they plan to enter into the workforce.
The most common career path chosen by students was in the healthcare industry; the second most common was teaching.
Some students declared an interest in pursuing unique careers ranging from diplomat to baker to CIA agent to tattoo artist to photojournalist to YouTube content creator.
Almost all of the students who participated in the survey thanked a teacher or teachers who had a positive impact on them during their time at OCHS.
For the question of where they would like to be in 10 years, the majority of students chose “happy,” “financially stable,” “with a family or kids of their own” and “healthy.”
“We’re very fortunate to be able to have our seniors participate in senior meeting event,” said OCHS principal Wendell Green. “They had their senior prom, which we held outdoors on May 1. And then to have the ability to hold graduation has been wonderful. These students were juniors when school closed last year in March. Just looking at what they’ve gone through this year, to be able to pull off these three events is remarkable. I feel very proud that we did everything in our power, considering the circumstances we face because of COVID, to send our students out the right way.”
Graduation ceremonies will be held bright and early at Porterfield Park (adjacent to Orange Elementary School) on Saturday, May 22. The ceremony will be split into two parts: seniors with last names beginning with A-La will receive their diplomas starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 10 a.m. followed by an hour break. Seniors with last names beginning with Le-Z will receive their diplomas starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m. Each senior has six tickets that they may give out to guests who wish to attend.
Green is excited to have this year’s class graduate in-person after last year’s virtual ceremony.
“The circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in our need to offer a hybrid instructional model that included an in-person and a virtual component,” he said.
“This was a huge adjustment not only for our students and families, but for the OCHS administrators, teachers, school counselors and support staff as well. I am proud of the way that our faculty and staff embraced this challenge, maintained a positive outlook, and understood that they had to be flexible. WE ARE OC!”
To find out more details about graduation visit the newly created “senior information” section on OCHS’s website at https://sites.google.com/ocss-va.org/ochs/senior-information.