Alumni share their wisdom with Prospect students



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PRINCIPAL JAY FITZPATRICK (center) gathers with Prospect Mountain alumni for lunch following their round-table panel. Tim Croes. (click for larger version)
January 12, 2011
ALTON — Prospect Mountain High School held its annual Alumni Day on Thursday, Jan. 6, and more than a dozen former students came back to their high school stomping grounds.

Catherine Bond, a guidance counselor at PMHS, tries to get a mix of students to return.

"We try to get a good cross section of students at two-year schools, four-year schools, military and those who are working," Bond said. "We are very appreciative of the students coming to the event. Some have to take off work to be here."

Meredith Roy, a graduate of Alton Central School who is currently substituting at PMHS, moderated the round-table discussion that was held in front of juniors and seniors at PMHS.

Roy talked about how to develop study skills that she used in college and using flash cards to concentrate.

Roy also talked about switching majors.

"I switched majors three times," Roy added. "Don't be afraid to change your major."

Members of the alumni talked about adjusting to life after high school, roommate issues, the social aspects of college, time management, internships, intramural sports, clubs, trying new things, having independence and having a flexible schedule.

Danielle Juza, who chose to take a year off from school and save some money by working at the local McDonald's, felt like taking a year off was the right move for her.

"I felt like I wasn't prepared financially and that I wasn't ready for the college life," Juza said. "The only regret that I have is that I'm not in a learning environment right now."

In the fall, she will be attending Ignite Academy in Christianburg, Va., where she will be studying youth ministry.

Jonathan Yelle made the decision to follow in his father's footsteps and join the Air National Guard.

"I['ve] know[n] that I wanted to go into the military since I was in eighth grade," said Yelle about his decision.

He went through technology school while enrolled in the Air National Guard and was deployed for 45 days.

Yelle will be attending Plymouth State University and will be majoring in math with a minor in coaching, and he will have the financial support from the Air National Guard.

"For somebody who doesn't have the money financially to go to college, it definitely helps," Yelle said.

Liana Tetreau, who is attending D'Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., and studying occupational therapy, wrestled with a decision that many students go through, transferring.

Tetreau looked at other schools, talked to students at those schools and filled out all the applications. But during that time, she came to the realization that she was at the right spot.

"It gave me time to adjust," Tetreau said. "It was more homesickness than anything else. I didn't adjust well from going to the country to the city."

Tetreau is happy that she made the decision to stay where she is and also thinks she learned a lot about herself through the process.

The round-table discussion was very informative and hopefully, some of the juniors and seniors in attendance learned something about life after high school.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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