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Most of this year's graduating class to continue education

Maria Moreno, left, adjusts Astrid Albeno's graduation cap Saturday, prior to the commencement ceremony for Willmar Senior High School's Class of 2010. More than 80 percent of this year's graduating class will attend college of some form in the fall. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

More than 80 percent of the 273 students who graduated from Willmar Senior High Sunday plan to continue their education after high school.

In a survey conducted by the Senior High counseling office, 40 percent of the students, a total of 110, said they plan to attend a community or technical school after graduation.

Another 20 percent, 54 students, plan to attend private colleges; 15 percent plan to attend public colleges or universities in Minnesota, and 8 percent plan to attend a college or university outside Minnesota.

Twenty-eight students, 10 percent of the class, plan to seek work right after graduation.

Four students are planning to enter military service. Two males plan to enter the U.S. Air Force, one female will enter the U.S. Army and one male will enter the U.S. Marine Corps.

The counseling office conducts the survey each year. The results were compiled by Karol Markfelder of the counseling office.

Over the past decade, the average graduating class size has been 280 students. The largest class over the past decade was 327 graduates in 2003. The smallest class was 247 graduates in 2009.

This year's class has one of the largest percentages of students going straight to work and one of the lower percentages of students going on to school. In the past decade, six classes have sent 86 percent or more of their members to post-secondary training.

Nine Willmar students will be heading to Concordia College at Moorhead this fall; and six will be going to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

Some students plan to attend out-of-state private colleges, but the two most popular are still close to home -- five students will go to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, and four students will go to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Among Minnesota's public colleges and universities, Minnesota State University at Mankato will greet a dozen Willmar grads in the fall, while 10 of them will be on the way to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Eight grads plan to go to St. Cloud State University.

When it comes to out-of-state public colleges and universities, the Willmar grads will continue to stay close to home. Five students plan on attending the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, four will head to South Dakota State University at Brookings and three will attend North Dakota State University at Fargo.

Ridgewater College is always the most popular choice for students headed to community and technical college, with 92 Willmar grads planning to attend classes there in the fall. Eighteen Willmar students listed other community or technical colleges in the survey. Most of those are in Minnesota.

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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