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Large majority of Willmar Senior High grads going on to school

WILLMAR — As in years past, a large majority of Willmar’s graduating seniors intend to continue their educations at 2- or 4-year colleges.

In all, 86 percent of the students graduating from Willmar Senior High this weekend plan to attend a post-secondary educational institution. More than a third of the class will stay close to home by attending Ridgewater College in the fall.

Students filled out a questionnaire about their post-graduation plans in May. A total of 248 students filled out the survey on May 7.

The survey results were compiled by Jill Stevens in the high school’s guidance office.

Of the students surveyed, 34 said they planned to attend private colleges, and 72 said they planned to go to public colleges and universities. Community/technical colleges are the destination for 107 students, including 86 planning to attend Ridgewater. Many of those going to Ridgewater plan to transfer to four-year schools.

A dozen students, 5 percent of the class, are planning to work after graduation; some already have jobs. Seven students will be going into the military. The graduates include 14 special education students, one foreign exchange student and two who answered that they had “other plans.”

The school also provided information comparing the last 10 graduating classes. The 14 percent of this year’s class attending private colleges represents a 10-year low, while the 29 percent attending public institutions is a 10-year high. The 43 percent going to community/technical colleges is the highest since the class of 2007.

The average graduating class size over the past decade has been 266 students. Class sizes have ranged from a low of 230 in 2012 to a high of 314 in 2006.

Commencement is at 2 p.m. Sunday in the high school gym. It will be shown live on Willmar Regional Access Channel 18 and streamed live at, the channel’s website.

The class song is “Seize the Day” from “The Newsies” soundtrack. The class flower is the fire and ice rose. The red and white hybrid rose reflects the school colors and is a frequent choice for Willmar classes.

The class motto is “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,” from Walt Disney.

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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