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The Mirror

Seniors face important decisions as the race to finish line

As 2:10 hits and after-school announcements begin, after call out meetings and updated shot records, students across the building hear the words “Seniors, Seniors, Seniors.” This normally followed by college information, deadlines, and Jostens. Senior year has started with over 500 students at MHS hoping to cross the stage this May.

Senior Carlton Clay is ready to make his senior year his most memorable one.

“Apart from being teed up, I’m most excited to make memories with those I care about most,” Clay said “Spending time with them has made these past three years bearable, and I want to make the best of this last year as a debt of gratitude.”

Crossing the stage may seem like a long time away, but Senior Principal Daniel Schoon emphasizes the requirements for students to be able to cross the finish line.

“So the most important thing for a kid to be able to walk across the stage at graduation is that they have to have 40 credits by the end of 2nd trimester,” Mr. Schoon said. 

“That will earn the right to walk across the stage, and of course 45 to be able to graduate from Merrillville High School. No major discipline issues or anything like that and they can happily walk across the stage.”

Checking off one box and starting to complete another is a constant cycle that seniors are dealing with this fall. With the common application for the 24-25 school year that allows students to complete multiple college applications that opened Aug. 1st. 

Guidance Director Michelle O’Dell encourages students to not only reach out to guidance counselors, but also take initiative on their own.

“Then as far as college applications go, you know we live in a digital world now everything is online so the students need to look into what schools they are interested in and legit go to that college website,” she said. “Then just look for ‘apply to college’ and go through the application process.”
The deadline is soon approaching.

“A priority deadline would be Nov. 1st,” she said. “If a student can complete their application by generally speaking Nov. 1st; they usually get first priority of grants, scholarships that the school offers that the student may not even be aware that they have an opportunity to obtain, so November 1st is definitely the start of it.” 

Clay has some criteria when it comes to his college selection.

“My main factor in the college process is campus beauty,” Clay said.  “It just makes sense that if I have to live somewhere for four or more years, I want it to make me smile every time I see it. Apart from that, a good academic standing as well as a plethora of extracurriculars are some other factors I look for.”

Another factor for many students is the financial cost that comes with college. For students looking for scholarships Mrs. O’Dell tells students to make sure to check the MHS Guidance Department’s website for updated scholarship information. Another site she recommends is which she recalls one former student utilizing for the best effect.

Mrs. O’Dell recalls a former student who created a great system with her mother.

“They would set a timer and they just on that website filled out whatever applications popped up into her profile,” she said. “They started in January of her Junior year. Every Sunday they were committed while dad watched football. The two of them were on FastWeb dealing with her profile.”

The hard work paid off.

“They filled out so many scholarships that her senior year when she came to awards night she was up on that stage constantly calling her name over and over again,” she said. “She was just short of $12,000 just for doing scholarship opportunities from FastWeb.”

During the college process going on visits in person can be essential to making the decision. MHS encourages students to go out and take the visit. You can receive an excused absence form to be able to visit colleges. 

Mr. Schoon gives advice for students.

“The biggest word of advice is focus on your work, take an active role in your learning and good things will happen as you prepare to go to college and take that next step in life,” he said. “As you prepare to go out there in the real world just remember all the things we’ve taught you here; be on time, be where you’re supposed to be at all times, take an active role in your learning, go off to college and do the absolute best that you can do.”


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About the Contributor
Destiny Givens, Editor
My name is Destiny Givens and I am currently a senior here at Merrillville High School. I love being able to share a variety of stories that I feel are important for people to read about. I am currently involved in a variety of clubs and extracurriculars and highly involved in the school being an officer in many of my clubs. I hope that throughout the year I am able to write articles I truly care about that you are loving to read.

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