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East Valley High School seniors sign off on post-graduation plans during first ever event

East Valley High School seniors sign off on post-graduation plans during first ever event

YAKIMA, Wash.--Several seniors from East Valley High School are making their post high school plans known after taking part in a College Signing Day event on Monday.

"Walk up, sign your name, take a picture by it. Makes you feel great honestly," said senior Ben Albrecht.

It sounds simple, but College Signing Day is a big deal to the over 100 East Valley High School seniors who declared their post-graduation intentions.

"[I'm going to] Big Ben Community College. I'm planning on taking the basic classes then go to a four year following my two years and I'm going to play baseball there," Albrecht said.

"I plan on attending UNLV and I will be studying pro golf management and hospitality," said senior Luka Van Dermerwe.

It's the first time East Valley has held this event, part of a seven year grant to help students figure out their plans after they receive their diplomas.

"We got the kids when they were in seventh grade and I started working with them at that time, myself and the staff, and we go with the students when they go to high school," said East Valley Gear Up site director Chris Bazaldua.

Students get help from Gear Up staffers on test prep, scholarship applications and more.

College Signing day is a culmination of that important process.

"I feel very well prepared cause they basically gave us a step by step on what to do and I'm not a very organized person myself but this helped me stay focused," said Albrecht.

Whether it's staying local, studying out of state or serving in the military, students understand the importance these choices have on their lives.

"More than half of our population expects to go to college so it's a lot harder to find a job if you haven't attended a college or university," said Van Dermerwe.

"So you definitely have a foot forward if you do go attend a university."

And there's no better way to celebrate that then with those who've seen how much they've grown.

"I think about talking to them when they were a sixth or seventh grader and they would talk about maybe what they want to be someday and now things have progressed and they have been so successful in their classes so now they know, they know what they want for their futures," said Bazaldua.

Other high schools in the valley, including Toppenish, Wahluke and Mount Adams are planning College Signing Day events for later in May.

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