Alternative Paths

Seniors make decisions to secure their plans for next year. Though college is the common route, many seniors have decided to take an alternative course.

As the last semester of high school rolls around, seniors make decisions to secure their plans for next year. Though college is the expected route, many seniors have decided to take a different course.

Charlie Bermel
Senior Charlie Bermel has enrolled in the air force academy. He will report to the academy for basic training on June 28. It lasts six weeks and filters into the start of the school year.

“I’ll be going to school [at the academy] and also learning more about how to become an officer,” Bermel said. “I want to become an engineer, and if the opportunity comes about, a pilot.”

Being involved in the military is a dream that Bermel has had for a long time.

“I’ve always wanted to serve in the military,” Bermel said. “It’s an institution that really values discipline and good character, which is something I really want to be a part of. [I want to] be able to serve something a little bit bigger than myself.”

Once Bermel graduates from the academy, he will be required to serve for five years and then advance to an officer of the air force.

“If I enjoy it, I’ll continue it as a career,” Bermel said. “I know that a lot of people tend to stay in longer so i’m looking forward to a career in the military.”

Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the academy is in an ideal location for Bermel.

“The air force base is like right on the edge of the rocky mountains, which is pretty sweet,” Bermel said. “I’m originally from Colorado, so it will be fun to go back and live in the same environment.”

Even though he is not attending a standard college or university, Bermel believes his decision is right for him and that it will be beneficial in the future.

“It [air force academy] is pretty much college, except it requires service,” Bermel said.

His high school experience has helped shape who he is and make good decisions for his future.

“In high school, there are some people who strive to be better and strive to achieve something great in their lives, and that’s something I really want to be a part of,” Bermel said. “I found wrestling and other sports to be in that showed me that hard work is valuable. I want to continue that after high school.”

Orson Becker and Hunter Rea
Working in the film industry has always been a dream for senior Orson Becker, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that he started to make his dreams a reality.

Becker and his good friend senior Hunter Rea have decided to move to Chicago together after they graduate from high school because of the many opportunities the city provides.

“Chicago’s always been a happening place and so I know something is going to be going on down there,” Becker said.

Deciding not to go to college was a fairly easy decision for Becker to make.

“For a while now my plan has been to get into the film industry and through many personal accounts of my family members and friends, schooling is a very bad way to get into the film industry,” Becker said. “I figured it’d be easier to avoid spending a hundred thousand dollars if I can.”

The film industry can be difficult to get a start in, but Becker has set a plan in order to make his dreams a reality.

“My plan is to obviously find a job that I can just have to make money, but then also go to improv school, and then also hopefully start performing stand up comedy,” Becker said. “Hopefully I can make some grounding on that which will give me enough leeway to make a movie or do something in the entertainment business.”

Rea has similar plans to Becker.

Throughout his years of schooling, Rea has strayed farther away from the schooling system. His plans for the rest of his life have always been the same.

“My plans after high school have always been pretty simple. Graduate. Get an apartment. Work. Get money. Move the hell out of Lawrence and do my thing,” Rea said. “I am a filmmaker and I just want to do that on a “professional” level in the independent industry doing what I love for the rest of my life.”

Rea debated on whether to go to film school or not, and with the help of his favorite director, he made his decision.

“I was at a fork in the road for a long time and one of my favorite directors actually commented at me on Instagram responding to a question I asked about whether or not to attend film school,” Rea said. “He responded, and I quote, ‘no film school’, and that was the cherry on top. I’ve had a weight off my chest and a smile on my face ever since.”

Although he’s faced criticism for his decision, Rea ignores others’ opinions because he knows that his plan is right for him.

“I get the same concerned and frightened look every time I tell someone I’m not going to school,” Rea said. “There is just a lot of stigma around the decision. Like they assume I failed, or just gave up, or my parents are disappointed, but it’s just not the place for me. People tell me what ‘they think’ I should be doing with my life. I just nod along.”

Rea is not only eager to start his future in the filming career, but to create new relationships and new memories.

“I’m looking forward to my new found freedom, my old friends and new ones and the rest of my life,” Rea said.

Sophia Bone
Some students want to broaden their horizons. Senior Sophia Bone has planned to travel to Costa Rica to attend Discipleship Training School, also known as YWAM.

“I’m doing it [YWAM] because I want to have an adventure and do something fun that’s not school,” Bone said. “I’m going to be learning and traveling a lot and getting to talk about God with people.”

Bone decided this was the best decision for her because she wanted a new experience, but didn’t want to stop learning.

“I’ve been going to school for 12 years and I just think that I’ve never had life without being in school everyday,” Bone said. “I think [YWAM] is a good experience to have while I’m young and able to do that without a lot of obligations.”

Along with teaching others about God, Bone will be expanding her knowledge in the Spanish language.

“I’ve been studying Spanish, so I think that it would be really cool to become fluent in Spanish, which hopefully I will,” Bone said.

Taking a break between high school and college is controversial, but for Bone, most of the reactions she gets are positive.

“Honestly most people are pretty accepting of it, but sometimes with older people when I tell them I can just see it in their faces,” Bone said. “I think people’s perception of not going to college is that you’re never going to go, but I plan on going. I plan to just take a year off and then go to college.”

Sidney Patrick
Senior Sidney Patrick is debating between two options for her future. She will either work full time to give herself time to consider her future or possibly go to cosmetology school.

“I made this decision because as of right now, I don’t have the desire to stay in school for another four years,” Patrick said.

In making her decision, Patrick faced criticism, but she didn’t let it phase her because she is confident with her choice.

“I have received a lot of criticism from my fellow classmates. People ask me ‘why not just get a real degree’,” Patrick said.

Patrick has given herself a break from school because she wants to have the freedom to do as she pleases.

“I’m excited to see where life takes me. I’ve gotten the advice to just live life next year. I’m going to do that,” Patrick said.