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Updated 11:00am - Nov 26, 2014

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Grads make plans for future

Soon-to-be Del Norte High grads Frank O'Connell, Virginia Townsend, Mai Thao and Amanda Snowden (left to right) plan to continue their schooling this autumn. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).
Soon-to-be Del Norte High grads Frank O'Connell, Virginia Townsend, Mai Thao and Amanda Snowden (left to right) plan to continue their schooling this autumn. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).

By Adam Madison

Triplicate staff writer

More than 90 percent of Del Norte High's seniors will continue their education after graduation.

Their post-high school plans are diverse, ranging anywhere from four-year universities to the military.

Senior Mai Thao plans to attend Humboldt State University with a focus on business and nursing. She said her parents provided encouragement to attend college, as did her Advancement Via Individual Determination program teacher, John Murphy.

Thao said she chose to go to Humboldt State because it's in "the top 20 in the United States and because its closer to home."

Thao was born in Chiang Kham Camp Pha Yao, Thailand, and moved to the United States in 1992, then to Crescent City in 1996.

"I wanted to show that even though we are low-income (Thao's family), I could still go to a four-year college," she said.

Low-income students have a better chance of receiving financial help towards college "if you (the student) do all of the financial aid (forms) and apply for scholarships," Thao said.

Senior Amanda Snowden chose to enlist in the Army after graduation.

"It was a way to challenge myself, emotionally, physically and a way to pay for college," she said. "I didn't want to just be another face in the crowd; I thought serving my country would be the way to do it."

Snowden will be a military police officer for the Army.

"Something about it clicks for me, doing something new and different every day," Snowden said about being an M.P.

Snowden also plan to pursue an online Bachelor of Science degree in criminology through the University of Phoenix during her four years in the Army. Snowden said she plans to transfer to the University of South Florida to get her Master's in forensics.

Soon-to-be graduate Frank O'Connell has set his sights on Chico State University, majoring in civil engineering.

O'Connell said that he chose to go to a four-year university because, "I'm the first out of my family to go to college."

O'Connell's father is a surveyor and in the construction business.

"I see how hard it is to make good money without a license (in surveying)," O'Connell said about attending college.

While attending high school, O'Connell also works at Brown Construction in Crescent City in the morning for at least two hours, then after school he works at Grey Sky Engineering for at least five hours a day.

O'Connell has two after-school jobs to pay for college.

He said that pursuing his career outside Del Norte County was a good decision because, "I think the construction (business) will slow down (in Del Norte County)."

Virginia Townsend, a Native American student from the Karuk Tribe in Happy Camp, is headed to the Del Norte College of the Redwoods for a General Education Degree with a focus on education.

"I will be the first one from this generation of my family to go to college," Townsend said.

Townsend was a tutor during her first three years in high school for the Northern California Indian Development Center.

"I know that we're the least expected to graduate," she said of Native American students and her decision to go to college.

Townsend said she wants to become a teacher to help other Native American students achieve their goals in education.

"They have a life ahead of them – their graduation and education – they just have to step up and take it."

Tracking students

A senior survey, created by the Del Norte High School counseling office, was given in May to determine where students were headed after high school.

The survey was taken by 196 students that are getting ready to graduate June 15.

The list created was divided into sections according to what each student indicated they wanted to do after high school.

The sections included four-year college students, community college students, students headed into the military, students moving on to vocational training.

The final section included foreign exchange students, those who wanted to work, travel or who were undecided at the time of the survey.

The students included in the sections have been accepted to the college, military branch or vocational school they plan on attending.

More than half of the graduates will attend the College of the Redwoods in Del Norte and Eureka to pursue degrees in general education. Some of those graduates plan to head to a university after they receive their general education.

A quarter of the graduates are headed to four-year colleges.

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