SPASH Seniors Say Sayonara

Graph showing what the class of 2022 post graduation plans were. Graph from SPASH Career Center

Graph showing what the class of 2022 post graduation plans were. Graph from SPASH Career Center

Peyton Wanta and Stephanie Lieske

Every ending just means there is a new beginning for another person, or another experience. SPASH seniors graduating means that they get to move on in life and explore new opportunities, while the incoming SPASH seniors are just starting their final journey to graduation. SPASH is a place of learning and growing for many, preparing them for their future, while allowing them to make memories and friendships. Overall, SPASH seniors are excited but hesitant to continue into their future after graduation.

Looking Forward

SPASH seniors are ready to get out and get into the world while exploring their new opportunities and freedom. One of our featured seniors, Dominic Vanier stated, ”I’m going to Mid State to become an electrician.” Dominic is looking forward to getting out and doing something with his time that he knows will actually be able to benefit him. He also shared that he is excited to get out because then he can work and get paid, because as he stated “I wouldn’t enjoy work if I didn’t get paid.” I’m sure that most people would feel much better going to school if they got paid to do it, just like why many people put up with jobs that might not be their favorite. 

Brooklyn Pagel, another one of our featured seniors, will be attending a two year technical college in Wausau for dental hygiene. She shared that she is excited to be done at SPASH, “but it’s nerve wracking because of all the new hurdles being thrown at you.” Brooklyn has a great point.

Another featured SPASH senior, Lola Dickey, feels a bit differently, as she expressed that graduation is “bittersweet I guess.” She included that “It totally flew by but I’m really excited to live on my own and start a new chapter of my life” She is starting to get excited about leaving the life of high school behind. She plans on ”study medicine at UW Eau Claire,” although she is still undecided on which field of medicine, but taking medical focused electives through SPASH have assisted in her passion for medicine. 

One of our other featured SPASH seniors, Ben Wunrow, also plans on going to UW Eau Claire in the upcoming school year. He aspires to study ”physics and engineering at UW Eau Claire and hopefully at some point a doctorate in Europe.” Ben is excited to move on to new opportunities, and explore new parts of the world that high school has held him back from.

Ava Bossert, another SPASH senior, is still unsure of what exactly she wants to do. She is thinking of being a radiographer, someone who performs x-rays, or a paramedic. Ava also expressed “details are the bane of my existence, and that’s required a lot in school.” Ava is mainly excited to be done with school in order to get away from her struggles, and instead be able to do something that fits her much better. A lot of students can probably relate to this heavily. They are excited to move on and be able to do the things that they know they can actually succeed in.

Bentley has his current plans set on going to Mid-State in Wisconsin Rapids to study to become a diesel technician. His excitement is growing by the day as graduation approaches, he can’t wait to not have to deal with his fellow classmates anymore. 

Last year, 90.1% of students graduated, which was higher than the state average of 89.4%, according to the SPASD report card. Furthermore, according to information from the SPASH career center, less than 10% of the 2022 class were undecided about their post graduation plans when they graduated. Furthermore, most SPASH seniors last year chose to continue into some sort of schooling, that being either a 4-year or tech college. These students were about 81.4% of the 2022 graduating class.

Graduation is a very important time, but also a very stressful time. You need to make sure you have enough credits to graduate, enough money to move out, the knowledge to be independent, and the support from people in your life to help you through the change. These reasons also provide a source of excitement and exploration. All in all, the end of your high school career is the start of the rest of your life.

Opportunity: Provided

There are many teachers and numerous opportunities to prepare seniors for their futures made SPASH an amazing experience. Some of our featured seniors favorites include Mr. Marty, Mr. Castleberg, Ms. Perron, Mr. Ramos, Mr. Marnocha, Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Cibaric. All of them had qualities that made their class an easy part of these seniors’ days. They allowed these seniors to learn and feel comfortable as well as invited into their classrooms. 

Some of the seniors favorite classes include; culinary arts, because “we get to eat food,” as Ava shared, or computer hardware with Mrs. Kaster, as Ben stated, Lola enjoyed her social media class, and Bentley’s favorite was WRA, although it has recently changed to his off hours, as he states “because I don’t have to do anything.”

Featured senior Lola Dickey. (Peyton Wanta)

On a less serious note, one of our seniors, said their favorite memory is “seeing a fight being broken up by Mr. Vollendorf, and him being thrown into a locker [by the student],” or as Ben described, “tech classes because that’s when I… almost burnt down the school,”

Tech-Ed is just one of the many sports and electives SPASH has that are influential to students and their future choices. High School is an important part of everyone’s lives, and it really molds people into who they are and who they will be in their future. SPASH does a great job of providing opportunities for students to make plans and be as ready as they can be for their future.

For example, Ben is an extremely smart student who really just can’t wait to be done with high school. He takes advantage of being able to take free college courses through the different programs from UWSP offered to SPASH. He also helps out with physics tutoring. Also, SPAPSD had 476 students complete dual-enrollment courses in the 2021-2022 school year, that equals 23.8%, which is higher than the state percentage of 18.6%.

Everything but Nothing?

Seniors learned a lot of things while attending SPASH, even if it doesn’t relate to the average classroom learning. ”[I learned] how to make a resume, I learned in the career center.” stated Lola, Brooklyn said that she learned ”communication, if you don’t think you need it you really do need it to succeed. Like in talking to college counselors.” Bentley took a lot from his tech ed class, specifically automotive to learn more about cars and how they work.

On the other side of things, Ben shared that he learned “the college board is a joke,” he also shared that ”SPASH taught me how to deal with a lot of idiots.” Bentley feels similarly, as he expressed “I learned how to deal with idiots.”

Some of last year’s seniors were able to get real-life work experience, and we can predict that there will be similar, if not, better results than last year. According to the state report card for the Stevens Point Area Public School District, 29 SPAPSD students had the ability to participate in a program that prepares them for real-life work, by putting them in a real job, learning how to do that job professionally. Consequently setting them up for their future, and allowing them to earn money and credits, helping them to succeed with their future

Saying Goodbye

Some seniors may have strongly disliked most of the high school experience, but as any bad thing, its ending is not 100% positive. Ava shared that one thing she expects to miss about school is ”hanging out with my friends every day, pretending to go to the “bathroom” and instead going to a la cart.” When Ava looks back at high school, she is not only going to remember her favorite teachers or classes, she is also going to remember all the things that happened unexpectedly, or the things/people that provided her a reason to keep going through the school day and stay to finish it through.

The end of high school can also mean the end of friendships. When you have a class sitting next to someone everyday for 5 months at a time, you build connections. When things change, and those times end, so do those friendships sometimes. Even if they don’t end that very day, they likely slowly die out, because you aren’t forced to connect and interact with those people anymore.

Featured senior Bentley Klismith. (Peyton Wanta)

Bentley shared that he would miss ”talking to the people I know and messing around with teachers.” The things you remember from high school vary from person to person, but most of the time it will be the good things. Most likely the people who helped you through hard times, or tough classes, whether it be teachers, counselors, or even friends. 

Dear Future Senior,

There is no better place to get advice about being a senior than getting it from a senior. Thankfully, all of our featured seniors had something to give as advice to the future seniors. 

Ava’s advice is “Do as I say, not as I do. Do not procrastinate.” Even if you do things that teachers consider “misbehaving,” you can still pass your classes and complete the ultimate goal of getting past high school to pursue the career that will provide you with something you actually want to do with your days. Although Ava gave us an example of the fact that you can do things that bring you joy at school, even if teachers aren’t very happy about it, although she still advises you against it.

Ben has a lot of advice, as he shared ”take AP classes, specifically AP environmental science and other easy AP classes for quick college credit. If you learn how to take standardized tests you can save a lot of money through AP classes.The college board yet again is a joke. Take easy classes, mess around a lot. Really just it’s your senior year it doesn’t really matter.”

Featured senior Ben Wunrow. (Peyton Wanta)

”Plan ahead, don’t fall back, because you’ll be scrambling to get stuff together if you wait for the end. And end up stressing yourself out way more than you need.” Brooklyn adds a great point, we all know that we have resources and tons of people willing to help, the hard part is actually using in and being on time. If you have a study hall, a great way to use any extra time would be talking with people who can provide you with support for your future, and get you ahead of the game so you won’t fall behind.

Bentley’s advice was more of a well being advice stating “Be yourself, have fun and don’t listen to the morons in this school because half of them are idiots.”

Lola advises you to just exist, ”honestly like go out. Skip your classes and go do something fun. Just chill and take it easy. Just live in the moment. Less classes helps a lot, college applications are almost as much effort as a class. Take time to breathe.” 

Our 2023 SPASH seniors are ready to get on with life, even if the thought of moving on seems a little surreal. They have been provided the tools for learning and growing within the SPAPSD for the past 13 years, for most, and will be able to take that with them for the rest of their life. Their knowledge has been passed on to incoming seniors, who now have some great advice to help them push through, so they can start their new beginning at the end of senior year, and share their knowledge with the future seniors after them. As we know, every ending is just a new beginning for another chapter of someone else’s story.