Students start preparing for the future

Many students at East this year are rearranging their schedules or taking classes to help best prepare them for their future goals.

“When you talk about five classes, it’s five classes at Bellevue East, at Metro, UNMC Health Alliance, the Career Academy classes at Metro – those all count. It’s not about taking five classes at Bellevue East, because it’s not about Bellevue East, it’s about the students and what’s that pathway for them,” Wagner said.

Students like senior Madi Pelzer are taking advantage of the College Now! program offered through Metropolitan Community College (Metro) in order to complete some of their general education requirements sooner. College Now! offers Nebraska students the opportunity to take classes for half price at Metro either on campus or online. This is a way for high school students to be enrolled in college courses while in high school.

“It’s not finalized yet but I’m almost positive I’ll have a three course schedule. I’m also going to be taking online college courses through Metro Community College. Bellevue East and Metro offer the College Now program, so taking my general studies now rather than next year is a lot more affordable,” Pelzer said.

Taking college courses while still in high school can seem overwhelming to some. Pelzer says that while this option works for her, it may not be for everyone.

“As long as you know what you can handle and don’t overload yourself, I think it’s a great option for those planning to attend college and save some money in the process,” Pelzer said.

Students have some sort of flexibility with their schedule as long as they have an idea of what they want to do after high school. Wagner says that at East students have a variety of options to prepare for what they want in life after high school.

“As far as the Career Academy classes, we have students that actually leave and go to Metro. You know, my goal is to try and have 50 of those students this year and next year, but how do we grow that,” Wagner said. “Because again it’s not about graduation, you know graduation is a stepping stone, it’s what’s life after that and it doesn’t have to be college either.”

Other students that may not be wanting to attend college after high school also have other options for career plans. Senior Ryan Holecek is planning on graduating at the end of this semester in order to join the military.

“Earlier this year, I sat and thought about what I wanted to do after my senior year was up, whether I wanted to go straight to college, or take a year off and I guess it wasn’t either,” Holecek said. “I got in touch with a recruiter and I decided that through the benefits, this was the best option for my life.”

In the case of Holecek, in order to graduate early he has to finish some of his course requirements earlier than other students. To help him accomplish this, he is taking classes through an online program connected to the school.

“They helped me get started on Acellus so I could graduate early. Graduating early would give me the chance to go to boot camp earlier, which would have me making as much money as people a year or two older than me,” Holecek said. “It would allow me to stay in longer earning more money at a younger age in comparison to other people.”

Giving students the option to do what is best for their future is not a new concept for high schools including East. Wagner says that as a school they always try to prepare students for whatever future they want to work towards.

“We’re really trying to do things to benefit our students and give them that leg up and that advantage, so that’s what we’re going to continue to fight for,” Wagner said.