Future rapper? Future secret agent? What’s next for the BHS class of 2022?


Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Ashanti Bolt, Brandon Mables, and Adonai Ross, Staff Reporters

In less than two weeks, the Bethel senior class will walk across a stage and receive our hard-earned diplomas. As our loved ones and classmates cheer, we will celebrate this moment, a moment over 12 years in the making. Once the applause dies down, all of us will ask ourselves the same question: “What’s next?”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 66% of high school graduates enrolled in college in 2012. Ten years later in 2022, the number had dropped to 60%.  

The trend at Bethel aligns with national statistics. When we polled a group of 30 Bethel seniors about their plans for the future, only 59% indicated that they were planning on going to college. The recent pandemic threw many students a curveball, but it alone does not account for this shift. What has changed? Why are fewer students choosing college now than ten years ago? 

Over 21% of Bethel seniors indicated they plan on taking a gap year after graduation. They want time to get away from work and school to recharge. One of these seniors admitted she just wanted “her first vacation.” Another said they felt this past year has been “a bumpy road,” and a third described their high school experience as “too freaking much.” 

The 17% who plan to enter straight into the workforce revealed they do not consider college essential to jump starting their careers. Within this group, most have either decided to work at the shipyard or join the military. One student (who did not divulge their specific goals) emphatically declared he is “READY TO GO!” 

Among those who still plan to go to college, there is one common denominator: a pretty clear vision of what they want to do in life. Most of these seniors intend to be business owners or medical professionals (one even hopes to be a special agent for the FBI!). Unlike some of their peers, they believe college is a necessary stepping stone to achieving their dreams. 

Time will tell where we all end up, but we have confidence that our passion and dreams will carry us through the transition period we are about to embark on. Seeing all the love and support of our family and friends gives us hope that we will be able to live our lives to the fullest!