County Graduate Profile Shows Most Heading To College

NEWARK – Over three-quarters of Worcester County high schools’ 2009 graduates will attend college and specialty training schools, a report submitted to the Worcester County Board of Education revealed this week.

“The numbers are impressive,” said Donna Main, coordinator of Instruction. “Many of these graduates are home right now packing for college.”

There were 496 members in the Class of 2009. School officials report 408 members will go on to two- or four-year colleges and specialty schools. Three of those students will attend national service academies. Seventy graduates, 14 percent of the class, will enter the job market. Eighteen graduates, 4 percent of the class, will enter the military.

The college students will head in the main to University of Maryland school system, a total of 67 percent (276 graduates), with 157 entering Wor-Wic, 56 going to Salisbury University, 18 going to University of Maryland Eastern Shore and 45 heading to other state-run universities.

The class of 2009 also attracted $14.3 million in scholarship offers and accepted $7.3 million. One student was offered full scholarships to several schools, including Yale, Duke, Princeton, Dartmouth and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

“Even in this economy, we’ve been able to attract the money,” said Main.

Board of Education member Doug Dryden said, “A lot of hard work goes into it but it pays off.”      

Guidance counselor Betsy Williams of Stephen Decatur High School said, “I always tell them you have to play to win. We work really hard to try to get them to apply.”

The school board also honored 44 graduates from its adult high school diploma program, also known as the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) program. This is the largest number of graduates from the adult diploma program since 2000, and the results from the June, July and August tests are unavailable.

This year, the Worcester adult diploma program also boasted an 81 percent passing rate. The national average passing rate is 71 percent, and the Maryland average passing rate is 53 percent.

Nine of the graduating adult students achieved the 3000 Point Club, or high honors, making them part of the top 10 percent of adult students in Maryland.

“I am so proud of you all,” Board President Bob Hulburd said. “This is our favorite meeting of the year. I want you to know this means a lot to us.”