SALEM TOWNSHIP — Even with a daunting list of graduation requirements, Mt. Abram High School seniors should hang on and enjoy the ride.
On Thursday night, staff members shared that advice and more with their audience of students, parents and guardians.
Stephan Mitman, career coordinator, gave them an overview of a standard hectic, stressful and productive senior year.
Senior class advisers shared their best advice for the 2013 graduating class and provided a list of expectations for those planning to graduate and those planning to continue their education after graduation. One graduation obligation is 40 hours of community service. Other requirements are more complex.
“Students will have to prepare a portfolio of their work and should plan to present a senior project by February 28,” Mitman said to parents.
Procrastination will be their greatest enemy. Make a plan, set deadlines and ask questions. Expect both joy and disappointment.
“And I have a rocking chair and Kleenex in my office,” Guidance Department secretary Judy McCurdy said.
Sharon Dudley, Technology Department secretary and yearbook coordinator, said she remembered many of the students in the room when they were youngsters in her day care center.
“Engaging parents is at the core of successful transition,” Mt. Abram Adult Education Director Kirsten Burbank said. “This is a process, rather than an event.”
“We offered Career Center summer office hours, and we’ve increased the number of high school students taking advantage of early college opportunities,” Burbank said.
From the feedback the Career and Guidance departments have gathered, they know that parents of underclassmen need information about ways to help their students prepare for college.
“They are very interested in best practices for parenting, and they want to become savvy with the college financial aid process earlier,” she said. “They want to know what colleges are looking for in prospective applicants.”
Mitman said students can make group visits to Maine colleges, including a trip planned in October to the University of Maine campus in Orono.
“We’ll go to the classrooms, visit dorms, and eat in the cafeteria,” he said.
Visiting colleges might mean paying for transportation costs, overnights and meals far from home.
Burbank and Mitman also were part of the team which submitted an application for a Connecting Aspirations to a Plan grant to work with freshmen and sophomores and their parents to teach the college planning and preparation process. Because many parents and students have very little time during their school and work week, they were awarded $42,500 to use throughout the next four years to provide students with resources to move successfully beyond the walls of their western Maine school.
The grant came from the Maine Educational Loan Marketing Corp.’s Education Foundation. MELMAC is a private for-profit secondary market for student loans and is owned by the National Education Loan Network.
According to its website, the Education Foundation’s portfolio is currently valued at approximately $28 million, making it the largest non-college affiliated education foundation in Maine.