81% Of County Grads Planning To Go College Route

NEWARK – Over 80 percent
of Worcester County’s 2010 graduating seniors will go on to further their

A report by school board
staff presented this week showed that 81 percent, or 427 students of the 526
student graduating class, will attend a four-year college, two-year college or
a specialized training school.

Thirty-four graduates,
6.5 percent of Worcester’s 2010 graduating class, decided to enter the military
after receiving their diploma, according to the report.

About 43 percent of
2010’s graduates will continue learning at a traditional four-year college,
with 34 percent heading to two-year institutions.

According to Snow Hill
High School guidance counselor Rose Zollinger, more students than expected are
choosing the two-year school option, to save money for a few years before
transferring to a four year school.

Many students also
decided to attend the schools that offered them the most funding, Stephen
Decatur High School guidance counselor Betsy Williams said.

“When it comes down to
it, kids don’t realize Mom and Dad don’t have $50,000 a year to send them to
some of these schools,” Williams said.

“About half are going to
state schools in our area,” said Dr. Donna Main, coordinator of instruction.

“We have had a lot of
students accepted at really good schools,” said Williams.

Those schools include
the U.S. Air Force Academy, Berklee College of Music, Princeton University,
Cornell University, Duke University, and regional favorites Salisbury
University, Wor-Wic Community College, University of Maryland Easter Shore,
Washington College, and University of Maryland College Park.

Guidance staff in all
three high schools worked hard to find scholarship opportunities for students
and to make sure their applications were complete, Main said.

This past school year,
Worcester’s graduating seniors were offered three times as much scholarship
money as they were a decade ago, Main said.

The entire Worcester
County 2010 graduating class was offered $12.5 million in scholarships, grants
and merit-based awards. Overall, 39 percent of the county’s 2010 graduates were
offered funding from colleges and non-profit organizations.

County high school
graduates accepted $6.5 million of those offered funds.

The Worcester Board of
Education held a graduation ceremony for GED (general equivalency diploma) for
38 high school dropouts who recently earned their degrees.

Adult Education
Coordinator Mark Ferraro said this week that the number of GED graduates,
already the highest Worcester has ever seen, could increase to as many as 50,
since results from summer testing are not yet available.

“We have one of the most
successful programs in the state of Maryland,” Ferraro said.

The Worcester County GED
program is probably in the top five in the state, he said.

“Our pass rate is
consistently higher than the state of Maryland and the nation,” said Ferraro.

One exceptional
graduate, Donna Dillon, 65, received the fifth highest GED test score in
Maryland this year.

Statistically, Worcester
County also has more GED students going on to higher education than in the
state as a whole.

The current class of GED
recipients received seven scholarships for further study, the highest number
ever, Ferraro said.