After Caprock Comes College

100 Percent of Caprock Seniors Apply to College
After Caprock Comes CollegeJanuary 28, 2015 – For the first time in school history, 100 percent of Caprock High School seniors have applied to college. Through Achievement through Commitment to Education (ACE) and the College and Career Center, all students have been worked with one-on-one to apply to the colleges of their choice.

“Students know they will succeed because we won’t allow them not to,” Dr. Amy McClure-Ottmers, science teacher at Caprock, explained. “That creates a very exciting and trusting environment to be in.”

Counselor for the senior class, Mandy Abernethy recalls the start of the school year with a personal goal in mind. “I wanted to do something different, something impactful. I wanted to show the kids they can do it and be something, and that it is a reality.” Soon her personal goal became a committee goal, and then a school-wide and community goal.  ACE Coordinator Abby Ortega, Senior’s Principal Jonathan Lloyd, Lead Counselor Whitney Chapman, and other Caprock staff worked together to ensure students received the same message of “After Caprock Comes College” across campus and in every classroom.

“Everyone is involved in creating an atmosphere of accomplishment, friendly competition, attaining a scholarship, attending college, and getting their FAFSA application ready to submit,” English teacher Cindy Dominguez explained. “The enthusiasm is a reflection of the administrators, staff and faculty.”

Once students receive their acceptance letters, they are photographed with their college mascots and displayed on the “After Caprock Comes College” wall in the commons area. These photographs serve as a reminder to the whole student body anything is possible for them after receiving their high school diploma.

College and Career Center Coordinator Tami Cox shared with her students, “If you don’t plan, you’re stuck. To make a livable wage, you must graduate from high school, have a plan to go into the military, go to college – but just don’t stop.”

Students were pulled into the College and Career Center a few at a time, 10 or 12 per week, to work on their college applications with assistance from Abernethy, Cox and other faculty as available. Students like Deng Majok have made it a priority to be in there working on college applications and financial aid documents every spare moment available.

“I have applied to a lot of colleges, all over the country. I have started to narrow down my options, and am now focused on three with great pre-law programs,” Majok shared. “So far, I have planned about seven years into my future. After obtaining my law degree, I want to become one of the greatest lawyers in history!”

Other students view this experience as a way to show younger students and family members a path towards success. Ivey Arenas is a cheerleader who believes the younger girls she cheers with are looking up to her as a role model. “I want to show them if I can graduate and go to college, they can too.”  She also shared, “If you don’t have a plan, when the time comes it’ll seem overwhelming and you’ll settle for less than you’re capable of achieving.”

Students can use the College and Career Center whenever their schedules allow. Once students begin narrowing down which programs they want to commit to, they can work with their guidance counselors and other school faculty to apply for financial aid.

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