Going to Clovis High School means you’re a Wildcat.
But when senior year came around for her son Estevan, Yolanda Romero was thinking of another animal.
“It’s a big elephant,” said Yolanda Romero of the senior year, as she spent part of her Monday night at CHS’s senior parents night. “You’ve got to eat it one bite at a time.”
Romero was one of about 250 people who came to the school’s lecture hall for a 45-minute overview of what to expect in their children’s senior year at the school. She attended while her son — who plans to attend the University of New Mexico — was busy taking college courses in the evening.
College credit earned while in high school was one of several topics discussed by Pam Cornelison, the school’s head of guidance. She said in the case of CHS’s dual credit offerings, the family was only responsible for lab fees and would not be on the hook for tuition and books, as traditional college students are.
“Some of our students will walk out of here with 15 (credit) hours,” Cornelison said. “That’s a semester of college. For some of those who haven’t gone to college, that’s a lot of money.”
The basic message of Monday night was parental involvement, whether it was helping pick out the right college or using new services at the school to keep tabs on grades throughout the year.
“In the last two weeks of May, people always say, ‘I had no idea my child was having so much trouble,’” Cornelison said. “If we can keep the communication open, we don’t have that problem.”
Cornelison said the high school has a goal for every senior to fill out a college application, even if they don’t plan to go. Other recommendations included writing a resume, taking both the SAT and ACT exams, and giving the school registrar at least a week’s advance notification when a transcript needs to be sent.
Regarding scholarships and money for college, Cornelison said filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be finished by Valentine’s Day.
“Government financial aid is like taking a pie,” she said. “Everybody can have some ... but it’s first come, first serve.”
Tips on scholarships included being wary of anybody who charges money up front for scholarship searches readily available on the Internet for free, and not shying away from scholarships requiring entry essays. Cornelison recalled one scholarship where so many people avoided the essay requirement that only five people applied for two $1,000 scholarships.
Yolanda Romero said she had issues she wanted to address, like considering moving graduation ceremonies to a larger locale than Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
But for Monday, a calendar of events and list of Web sites for scholarship searches was enough.
“What I was provided is pretty much what I anticipated,” said Romero, who brought her freshman daughter, Patricia, for a learning experience. “That’s the stuff I wanted to have so I could plan ahead.”