Friday, May 6, 2005

Students sign on to top schools

Express Staff Writer

Community School students Ben Roth, left, Jackie Goddard, Lexie Praggastis and Cassidy Doucette are happily contemplating their moves into higher learning.

Cassidy Doucette, a cheerful senior at The Community School, wrestled with confusion over which college to attend.

Doucette, 18, of Hailey, recently decided to attend Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Her decision to attend the college came a few days shy of May 2—the deadline for college-bound students to commit to a school.

Thankfully, Doucette's confusion stemmed from her own options.

In light of the college admittance rat race, Doucette and her Community School classmates successfully completed the college application process winning admission to a long list of high-profile schools.

"The choices tell the story. We want them to have the choices," said Jon Maksik, school headmaster of the private school in Sun Valley.

The 2005 senior class gained admission to an impressive list of top-ranked schools. Six of the eight Ivy League universities—Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale—admitted members of the class.

A host of prestigious schools, including the likes of Stanford, Duke, Middlebury, Tufts, Colgate, Boston College, Colby, Bowdoin, Bates and Vassar, also granted admission to graduating seniors.

Gaining admittance is unarguably a difficult step in the journey, although a major hurdle also rests in the decision where to spend the next four years.

"College is one of the few chances in your life to do something completely different," Maksik said. "If we can teach our kids to take those risks and have the confidence to do that, the rest will work itself out."

Students of the senior class chose to attend a wide range of schools based on their own desires.

Ben Roth, 17, of Sun Valley, knew from the beginning of the college application process which school he wanted to attend.

"I always knew I wanted to go to the East Coast," Roth said.

He applied early decision to his first choice.

"Yale was always there. Kind of a dream of mine," Roth said.

Roth found out in December he was on Yale's waiting list. At that point he applied to seven other schools. His college decision proved easy when he was admitted to Yale in the spring.

For Roth's peers, the decision process took greater twists and turns.

Jackie Goddard, 17, of Hailey, applied to seven state and liberal arts schools in Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

"I knew I wanted to live on the West Coast, so I decided to go to a school here," Goddard said.

After visiting university campuses and considering the cost of higher education, she decided to attend the University of Idaho.

"I realized the money it would cost. College would not be worth having $100,000 debt hanging over my head," Goddard said.

Geography and cost dictated Goddard's choice, while Doucette found herself with fewer evident road signs.

"I was totally clueless. I had no idea what I wanted or where I wanted to go," Doucette said.

She slowly narrowed her decision based on location, new experience and family advice.

"I think the important thing I learned from my brothers was not to listen to others. I didn't care what a school was ranked, as long as it was what I wanted," Doucette said.

One of Doucette's classmates found herself making a completely different decision.

Lexie Praggastis, 18, of Sun Valley, decided to defer from school for a year to embark on a National Outdoor Leadership School course and travel internationally.

"I am taking a year off because I think it is the best option, so I can figure out what I want out of college," Praggastis said.

After her adventures, Praggastis will attend Colby College in Maine.

"I wanted a small school with a good community, a good environment," Praggastis said.

With college decisions made, enjoying the rest of high school is easy.

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