What if I don’t want to go to college?

Ella Kressel, Staff Writer

Do you ever wonder what diversity in South High is really about? Is it about having students from all over the Twin Cities? Students of all different colors? Kids with low and high incomes? South is lucky to endure all those things. They are what makes our school the unique, diverse place that it is. Although we do lack in some areas.

Every student at South has a vision, whether they know it or not, for after high school. For many students that might mean college. For some it might not. This is where we lack.

South offers almost no classes for students that do not wish to attend college. As students grow at South and get further in their high school careers, their core classes become more and more college  oriented. Now, we all know to be a hairdresser you don’t need to know how to write an essay at college level; with our lack of vocational classes that means these students aren’t necessarily being bettered for life after high school.

Every student at South has a vision, whether they know it or not, for after high school. For many students that might mean college. For some it might not. This is where we lack.”

Joshua Fisher, an open Social Studies teacher here at South, was eager to comment. Fisher asked me to acknowledge the fact that the skills students learn in his class are important for everybody to learn regardless of them going to college or not.

“Students aren’t always driven, some mandatory classes students aren’t even ready to be successful in,” Fisher claimed, while he told me the story of a student who didn’t exceed expectations in his class but went on to succeed at the Aveda Institute. That example shows that students achieve their goals without taking “advanced” classes like Fisher’s.

“Engaging the human genius in that way is a really important part of motivating quality of life.” Laura Yost-Manthey exclaimed in context of her creative writing class. Addressing that although her class is college oriented, it also makes her students “dig substantially into their own ideas”.

On the other hand, Yost does wish South offered vocational classes. She believes hands on classes like, design, wood working, cooking, etc., are directly connected to brain development.  She concluded that a lot of students would “access their genius in that way.”

“I wish we had more hands on classes,” Tenzin Dohmeir, a junior here at South conveyed to me. Dohmeir has known for a long time he doesn’t see college in his future. He also feels extensive stress from his college readiness classes that he finds unnecessary due to the fact that he will not be attending college- he will be “pursuing a career in ceramics.”

Yost admits she feels her students are benefiting from her class no matter what; learning to think critically and being able to find credible evidence to support any claims you make will not only benefit you academically but will help you in your relationships in life as well as becoming a better person. Although students like Dohmeir may argue that these skills can also be accomplished in vocational classes which would lead back to her class not being necessary for students not wishing to attend college.

Aissatou Royce Diop, a sophomore, new to South, spoke to me about the reasons she will not be attending college and how she wishes South offered more vocational classes. Royce Diop feels she “has never thrived in school.” She has always gotten the impression that our school system does not care for her as an individual and has never worked around her anxiety. She feels that our school system is struggling and as a young woman has little to no interest in continuing after high school; although she addresses her mind could change down the line.  “I don’t think college or these classes are necessary to succeed.” Royce Diop concluded.

“[When teaching,] I think of my students becoming parents someday not just people working in a career. I really think we are not just developing college students, we are developing human beings.” Yost digs deeper into her feelings about the way she sees her class affecting these students lives in the long run. Although I see and respect Yost’s point I feel for students like Dohmeir who feels he will never be benefited by these high leveled college oriented classes yet suffers through the on going stress from them.

I believe in order for South to be able to connect with each student and help them reach their goals post high school we need to be offering more vocational classes.