On Thursday, March 11th, Dayton High School in Dayton, Ky. held the school’s first annual Senior Signing Day 2012 to recognize a group of 37 senior students as they formally revealed their post graduation college plans and military commitments.
The day’s formal activities included a special recognition lunch for the group sponsored by Rent It Today, which included a fully catered buffet and prizes ranging from gift certificates to passes for local attractions like the Cincinnati Zoo and Newport Aquarium. Participants were also given T-shirts representing their chosen colleges and those choosing to enlist in military service wore their future uniforms.
The special day culminated with a school assembly which was addressed by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. He and the entire school witnessed the seniors as they revealed their post graduation plans and signed their letters of intent.
Guidance counselor Jennifer Glass began this effort last June. She chose a March kickoff to mesh with student excitement over the NCAA College basketball tournaments. “At the beginning of this year, we were named a low-performing school due to our state test scores, and we went through a state audit,” Glass said. “Needless to say, morale was not at its peak. I felt this was a great opportunity to help turn this school around.”
Senior Signing Day is inspired by similar college signing days which top athletes often enjoy. In a serendipitous coincidence, Mrs. Glass was assisted in the program by current Northern Kentucky University Women’s Volleyball coach Liz Holmes, whose participation was part of her own pursuit of a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from NKU.
Students had to complete five requirements by a deadline before they were able to participate in the College Signing Day ceremonies. The requirements were:
1.Attend senior conferences with Mrs. Glass to map and monitor progress
2.Apply to at least one college by Christmas break
3.Take a college tour with a representative of the college by the end of January
4.Take the ACT at least one time in addition to when they took the test as juniors
5.Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form by mid-February
Of 50 seniors at the school, 37 completed all the requirements by the deadline. Of these, 25 will be first-generation college students. “This speaks volumes about what we want to accomplish at Dayton High School,” Glass said. “Students not only learned about the whole college admissions and decision- making process but they also had deadlines to meet. Many schools hold these events for athletes, but I wanted to focus the attention on academics and the decision to further their education beyond high school.”
Graduating Senior Cassandra Baldwin, who signed a letter of intent to attend Gateway College to study massage therapy, said the program was very valuable and she would encourage underclassmen to participate. “It prevents you from procrastinating and putting important things off,” she said.
Corey Scott, who will join the National Guard after graduation, said, “this is the beginning of a road to success, and I plan on continuing my education both during and after my tour of duty with the National Guard.” Scott said he is interested in performing arts, including video production and prop design.
The overwhelming response to Senior Signing Day and its success means the program started by Mrs. Glass will continue at Dayton High School, and Rent It Today will continue to support her in her efforts to promote post high school education for interested seniors.