Students talk about life after Central
By Pam Reinig
Six members of Central’s Class of 2014 took time from busy school, sports and work schedules to talk about the journey that will end Sunday with graduation and the journey that will begin after their diplomas are in hand.
A sweet future is the expectation of Kimmy Cleary, who plans to study culinary arts this fall at Southwest Tech in Fennimore, WI. Her ultimate goal is to open a bakery that specializes in cakes and cupcakes. Kimmy, who’s been a regular helper in the family kitchen since the tender age of 8, said that working with food is “something I’ve wanted to do my whole life.”
“I’m really open to meeting new people and I think that’s a real plus in that field,” she added.
Kimmy said that learning more about cake decorating is the one thing she’s most looking forward to at school. She readily admits that she’ll miss the atmosphere of high school but the school she’s going to is small so it won’t be a big adjustment for her.
An unfortunate sports injury set the course for Breanna Elvers’ future field of study. Breanna sustained a knee injury in volleyball that required significant physical therapy.
“Seeing the therapists work with people, seeing how close they got and how much they cared about their patients helped me realize that that’s what I want to do.”
Breanna is a first-generation college student. She’s headed to Clarke University in Dubuque where she’s already been pre-admitted into their six-year physical therapy program.
“It’s kinda’ hard to think about being in school another six years just as I’m finishing 13 years of school,” she admitted, “but I know it’s gonna’ be worth it in the end.”
Like Kimmy, Breanna admitted that it will be hard for her to say good-bye to kids she’s gone to school with her entire life.
Beau Fischer will likely be the first member of his graduating class to leave Elkader. He departs in about a month for basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. He’ll return after basic and will combine studies at Northeast Iowa Community College with army reserve training.
“I’ve always wanted to enlist in the military,” he said. “I’ve always looked up to my grandpa’ who served in Korea. I think this will be good for me. I think my dad is a little bit proud of me for doing this, too.”
Beau, who will study auto mechanics at NICC, has signed up with the army for six years. He’s looking forward to the experience and the travel that comes with it.
Like Breanna, a sports-related injury played a part in the plans Sam Hilgerson set for his future. Sam fractured his back in basketball during his junior year and re-injured it during football camp last summer. After the second injury, he was told he couldn’t participate in sports for three or four months.
“Because I wasn’t in sports, I had opportunities to try new things so I got involved with the crops judging team,” he said. “After that experience, I realized I could see myself in an agronomy career.”
Sam will begin studies this fall at Iowa State University. He admits that will be a big change of pace for him.
“It’s a really big campus but going to a small school builds your confidence so it will be OK,” he said.
Robin Rochleau, will be earning a cosmetology license at La James International College, Cedar Falls, but don’t expect to find her in a salon when she finishes her studies there. Robin plans to parlay her cosmetology work into a career in movie make up and special effects.
“I’ve always loved make up,” she said, “and when I started working with plays and musicals here, I learned that I like doing make up on other people, too.”
For Central’s recent production of “The Little Mermaid,” Robin transformed another student into a fish. Since then, she’s had a burning desire to pursue special effects. She also loves musical theater and hopes to find a spot there.
Robin sees herself living in a major U.S. metropolis. She said lessons learned at Central will help her adapt to big city living.
“Small schools give you a chance to develop interpersonal skills,” she said. “You have fewer people to relate to so you get comfortable talking to people.”
Samantha Tschirigi will go to Loras College this fall to begin her studies in special education—and nobody’s more surprised by that fact than Samantha. Until recently, she saw herself going into law and politics. She’s participated in student programs at the Capitol and she’s been to Girls’ State. But the experience left her disquieted.
Then she had an opportunity at Central to work in a small-group setting with kids who have reading challenges.
“It just felt right,” she said. “I really don’t care to work in big classes. I think I’ll do better in smaller settings. I thing this is going to be a great thing for me.”