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Dawson County graduation rates at all time high
Seniors spend day applying to colleges
A-Apply to college day pic 1
Dawson County High School Registrar Connie Jennings sits with senior April Schlick as she applies to colleges where she can study marine biology. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

Dawson County High School held its sixth annual Apply to College Day last week and it just happened to coincide with the news that the graduating class of 2016 had the highest graduation rate in school history.

The numbers were released on Nov. 1 while members of this year's graduating class were taking the day to meet with counselors and apply to their colleges of choice online.

The Class of 2016 graduated 93.97 percent of its students. That number was up 4.7 percent over the 2015 class.

The number was more than 8 percent higher than the 2014 class.

"It is very exciting to see the graduation rate rise more than 8 percent in the past two years," said Dawson County Superintendent Damon Gibbs in the release. "With more than 93 out of every 100 students graduating on time, the school district moves closer to realizing our vision of preparing students to be college and career ready and also meeting our number one commitment of graduation for all."

The Class of 2017 was getting a jump on its plans following graduation next May.

The library at the school saw a steady stream of seniors taking their spots in front of the computers trying to recall social security numbers and passwords so they could access web sites and fill out forms.

According to counselor Cherie Ferguson, 106 students participated in filling out 136 college applications.

"University of North Georgia waived the application fee on Apply to College Day so any student could apply for free on Nov. 1," Ferguson said. "We are so appreciative of them providing the free application to our students."

April Schlick sat with school registrar Connie Jennings to fill out applications for the University of San Diego, the University of North Florida and the University of West Florida.

"No matter what, I want to be by the ocean," Schlick said about her choices. Her plan is to study marine biology.

Counselors, like Ferguson, were on hand along with the graduation coach, admissions people, volunteers and high school staff to help seniors look up their pertinent information so the process could keep moving.

"The counselors have one-on-one meetings with the senior students and parents," Ferguson said. "We discuss Apply to College Day in those meetings and parents are very supportive about this opportunity...the applying process can be overwhelming especially to families that this is their first child planning on attending college."

With numbers going up for graduation, the next logical progression is the number of students moving on to some type of post-secondary education.

"It is very rewarding to see students through the college applying process and then hearing from the students down the road how happy and successful they are doing in college," Ferguson said.

Graduation for this year's senior class will be at 8:30 a.m. on May 27.