When asked how it feels to be a Quitman High School senior, Mary Margaret takes a deep breath and explains,
“I’m definitely excited, but I’m nervous, too. Nervous about getting ready to go to college. I really want to go to MCC for respiratory therapy. I know it’s a two-year school, and the job is super good money. I don’t want to have to stay in school. I just want to go ahead and get it over with, but I’m not sure if I want to stay home or go off. I haven’t looked at other respiratory therapy programs in the state. UWA and Southern Miss have been contacting me all summer, but I’m not sure about their programs.”
Until this year those who saw Mary Margaret on campus would have easily assumed she was planning a career in elementary education, and, though the FCCLA member has already completed both Early Childhood Education I and Early Childhood Education II classes at the Clarke County Career Tech Center, she was not one hundred percent sure what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
“I have always been iffy. I thought I would go to Southern Miss if I went into nursing, MCC for respiratory therapy, or Jones for early education. Now I think I’ve made up my mind. I still love early childhood education, but in respiratory therapy you work with both kids and adults. It’s good that I have those classes in my background.”
Career Tech classes are not the only thing giving this Panther Soccer player and Panther Archery team member an advantage. It also helps that she is already averaging thirty hours per week at a part-time job. Time management can be an issue for a young lady who holds down a job while taking classes, such as Anatomy and Physiology, Psychology, Government, Economics, and Personal Finance. Add to the coursework her commitment to the QHS Chorus, and you have a college bound person struggling to find the time she can set aside for another two points on her ACT composite score.
“I’ve taken the ACT twice, and I know my score is okay, but I want at least two more points. Last summer I bought one of those super big ACT study guides from a girl. I have to take the test in October and December, but I haven’t had much time to study.”
Mary Margaret is talking about an issue which QHS Principal Savage, along with QHS faculty and staff, are already addressing. Dr. Savage is passionate about the subject of a test on which so many college scholarships are decided. He explains,
“The ACT equals money for college, and we’re not happy with the average ACT score at Quitman High School. I have found that some students wait until their junior year before they even take the ACT for the first time. Can you believe that? That’s unacceptable here. This year we started an ACT Progression Program. Our students will start taking the ACT in ninth grade. Our classes will test in an ACT format. We are going to increase the average score of our students, and they are going to get more money for college.”
It’s the one piece of advice that Mary Margaret has for her underclassmen at Quitman High School. The senior, who is already making money while deciding how much time and financial investment will be required for her to bring home a salary which will afford all those things she wants in her life, says,
“Don’t waste time. Focus on your work. You need college scholarships super bad.”