"It's a very driven class, very competitive and goal oriented; a hard-working group," Fox said.
From the beginning of the school year, Fox was getting requests from seniors to send out their transcripts to colleges. Often several months pass before students begin concentrating on college plans. Fox found the graduating class "really wanting to be future oriented."
The shift in the nation's economy did not produce major changes in how students pursued future plans, though Fox detected two trends. The students with whom she worked were focusing on finishing a four-year degree, whether going directly to a four-year school or taking the two-year community college route before transferring to finish a degree.
|Also, Fox found a notable number of students wanting to go into health care, either looking at pre-med programs or specific training in fields like radiology or nursing.||"They know the jobs will be there in health care," Fox said.|
Fox noted that colleges were working to attract students in ways other than top scholarships. The University of Arkansas, for example, had lowered the ACT score it uses to offer an out-of-state fee waiver.
"Colleges are trying to get kids to be able to afford their courses," Fox said. "There's a lot on the line."
This year around 40 students completed requirements for benefits under Missouri's A+ program. Fox said she has been approached by underclassmen and many parents, expressing interest in getting into A+, which reflects a strong interest in the program's benefits.
A fair share of Monett's graduates will be heading to distant schools. Fox said there were individuals going to Stanford University, Pepperdine, Wartburg University in Waverly, Iowa, Harding University in Searcy, Ark. There are also several headed to the University of Missouri in Columbia and one going to the University of Missouri in Kansas City for its pre-med program.
Fox found an even number of graduates going west to Missouri Southern State University in Joplin and east to Missouri State University in Springfield. Historically, Monett students have leaned more toward one school or the other in any given year.
Fox was struck with the number of local scholarships awarded to students again this year, adding up to $63,900, including Missouri State University scholarships given exclusively to Monett students.
"I'm impressed by how much the community supports the kids here," Fox said. "In a small town, there is more of a sense of family. People want to help kids be successful.
"Some local scholarships were trimmed this year, due to the economy, but most were not," Fox said. "I'm sure it was hard going through all the applications. I wish there were more scholarships available. There were many deserving students."
Fox felt confident that students in the Class of 2009 have set a high standard for achievement and had every chance to be successful as they went forward in life.