The W. F. West High School graduating class of 2023 has officially begun the next phase in their journey in life. Graduation ceremonies in Bearcat Stadium took place on Saturday evening, June 10, 2023; and celebrations continue.
Teachers and administrators joined parents, families, and friends in congratulating all graduating Bearcats and we all look forward to watching graduates embark upon next steps.
The mission of the district, in partnership with the community, is to meet the individual learning needs of students by providing a comprehensive student-centered educational program that inspires and prepares them to become responsible, contributing citizens. Graduation is the culmination of that effort, reflecting years of dedication by students and their families, teachers, administrators, and peers who have helped them achieve their goals along the way.
“We want to prepare all students for the journey ahead,” says Chehalis School District Superintendent Dr. Christine Moloney. “We strive to ensure that every student finds success and is prepared for opportunities after graduation. Each of our graduating seniors have identified plans for their future. Our hope is that each student will find joy, happiness, and success regardless of their pathway.”
To learn more about The Achievement Roadmap in Chehalis, visit our website at http://chehalisschools.org/sa/.
To watch the 2023 Graduation Ceremony, click here: https://bit.ly/2023WFWGraduation
Career and College Ready
In Chehalis, our goal is to prepare students for career and college; ultimately earning a degree, certification, credential or serving in the military. In partnership with our community, we began the Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) in 2013 with our primary goal to increase the percentage of students going on to earn college degrees and certifications from 20 percent to 60 percent.
While the SAI partnership has achieved significant successes, including 100 percent of the classes of 2020-2023 applying and being accepted to a college and high school graduation rates also approaching 100 percent, the credential completion rate (although slightly above the state average) remains below the SAI goal of 60 percent.
One reason we haven’t met this goal is what’s called, “Summer Melt.” This refers to students who have been accepted to college and intend to enroll, but fail to make it to class – for a variety of reasons. In a recent study of Chehalis alumni conducted by The BERC Group, some of the barriers recent high school graduates face include the following:
- Some shared that they did not go to college because they needed to work.
- Some graduates said they did not know what they wanted to study.
- About one third shared that they did not think college was important, or did not understand the application process.
“In Chehalis, we want to help students beyond high school graduation,” says Executive Director of Student Achievement Rick Goble. “We want to assist them to pursue their dreams post graduation.” One way the district will assist students and families is with a new specialist recently hired with a specific purpose: engage with families and graduates of W. F. West High School.
Becky Moon is one of the newest SAI staff members. As SAI Specialist, she is working hard to communicate with seniors and recent graduates. She’s working hard to slow down the summer melt. She is organizing alumni events and developing mentorship programs for people struggling to find direction. Her goal is to help create a support system – a network of fellow Bearcats dedicated to being there for each other.
Using an online networking platform called Graduway, the district is helping Bearcats connect, and reconnect with classmates. Graduates can visit Bearcatconnect.com to find and reminisce with fellow alumni, see what they have been up to and stay in touch. The site also encourages alumni to give back to their community. They can employ fellow Bearcats, or act as a mentor to graduating students.
“Bringing fellow alumni together in an online community will help Bearcats stay in touch,” says Goble, “but more importantly, it will create a family of people working together for the betterment of each other and for the good of our community. We hope every former Bearcat will visit Bearcatconnect.com and join the online community.”