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Willmar, Minn., will graduate 234 students in Sunday's ceremony

WILLMAR -- Four out of five of this year's Willmar Senior High graduates this year will be attending a college or university in the fall.

The school will hand diplomas to 234 students in a graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Senior High gym.

The school surveys graduates each spring to find out what their plans are and to have the information available for possible follow-up studies of Willmar graduates. The survey results were compiled by Amy Isaacson in the school's counseling office.

The survey also includes some information about graduating classes for the past decade.

Of the 234 graduates, 193 graduates will be seeking some type of post-secondary education, a total of 83 percent.

Of those students, 36 plan to attend private colleges, 65 are headed for four-year public colleges or universities and 92 will be attending community or technical colleges.

Ridgewater College will welcome 32 percent of the graduating class, 75 of them. Many of those students are starting college close to home with plans to transfer to four-year schools after completing their general education requirements.

Eleven students intend to seek full-time work after graduation, and three will be entering the military. Twenty-six students placed themselves in the "other plans" category. The class also has 20 special education students in its ranks.

The class of 234 students is the second-smallest graduating class in the past decade, just slightly larger than the class of 2012.

The largest class in the last 10 years was 314 students in 2006. Other classes, from largest to smallest, were: 289 in 2010; 280 in 2007; 274 in 2008; 271 in 2005; 270 in 2011; 266 in 2004; 247 in 2009; and 230 in 2012.

The percentage of students going to private colleges averaged 19 percent over the 10 years. On average, one-quarter of graduates in the past 10 years headed off for four-year institutions, and 40 percent have planned to attend community or technical colleges.

The Class of 2013 chose "Home" by Phillip Phillips as its class song. The class flower is stargazer lily. The class motto comes from Dr. Seuss. "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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