Tascosa Becomes District's Latest High School to Champion 100 Percent Senior College Applications
January 25, 2017 – One-hundred percent of the 2016-2017 senior class at Tascosa High School has applied to college for the first time in school history. Tascosa joins Caprock High School, which recently marked its third year of having 100 percent of seniors submit college applications and Palo Duro High School which reached the ambitious initiative for the second year.
Tascosa Principal David Bishop, who moved to the Tascosa post from Caprock at the start of the school year, encouraged the endeavor based on the inspiration he saw it lend to educators and students during his tenure at Caprock. “I threw down the challenge,” Bishop said. “It’s something there’s value in and we needed to follow through. Our students need to have the same expectations and goals, and they followed through very well.
“If you don’t apply, you can’t do any of it. For some students, that’s a huge step. They’ll say I’m not going to college right now. Well, they might when they’re 35, and if they’ve gone through the process, they know they can do it,” he continued.
The process of leading every senior to fill out and submit a college application began with an application day in October, where students were called to the school’s college and career office, The Rebel Center, to complete applications. On that one day, senior’s counselor Lindsey Hernandez says approximately 70 percent of seniors submitted applications. “Once they knew what our goal was, they were excited about it,” she said.
The 100 percent endeavor was particularly difficult because three Tascosa seniors had already met graduation requirements and finished their year at North Heights Alternative School. Hernandez took on the added step of tracking down those students to help assist each with the application process. “She even talked one student through the process over the phone,” senior’s principal Blake Barton said.
“We don’t see our students who attend North Heights until they walk the stage at graduation in May. They’re going to graduate with us, but we don’t have direct contact with them. We didn’t feel that let us off the hook,” Bishop added.
With all applications submitted, acceptance letters are now flowing in. “That changes a lot of mindsets,” Barton said. “They suddenly realize there is more to look forward to and they are more capable than they thought.”
The project has since shifted to assisting students with finding ways to fund their higher education. Tascosa has hosted parent events focusing on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and this week, an event specific to scholarships. “A better educated community is a better performing, better community to work in. We’re trying to give students the idea they can do it, so they can make a higher wage for their family and that’s exactly what our community says we need to be doing,” Bishop said. “It’s exciting. We’re pushing students in directions they never dreamed were possible.”