By Taylor Christine Luby
As the final bell rings, Portland Christian High School seniors pour out into the hallways saying goodbye to friends and teachers. For some, there is a little sadness at leaving behind a place with so many memories. For others, there is excitement for a future which lies beyond the big front doors.
This year, Portland Christian High School graduated all 63 members of the senior class. 92 percent of the graduates say they have plans to pursue higher education. Those plans include over 25 different four-year universities in the US and abroad, as well as six different community colleges.
Dr. Shawn Jones, lead counselor for Portland Christian Schools, says he believes graduation rates are so high, in part, because the faculty and staff have high expectations for their students.
“In many ways college education is an unquestioned assumption of every student,” Jones said. “Not only is it our goal, it is the goal of our families. We have very active parents who partner with our faculty to make sure each student is on track to not only graduate, but to head off to college.”
This year’s graduating class also included 20 international students who participate in Portland Christian’s International Student Program.
Sheila Tretter, Director of International Students for Portland Christian Schools, says the international students are extremely motivated to attend higher level education.
“Many choose high level academic fields of study as their majors,” Tretter says. “They are able to develop their education into jobs in the medical field, research fields, law fields, and into global business ventures.
Past international students have attended a variety of notable schools such as University of California, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University and Purdue University.
Tretter said she encourages international students to view higher education as a wonderful opportunity. “For many years 100 percent of the Portland Christian international graduates have been accepted directly into colleges and universities throughout the USA and the world,” Tretter said.
Tretter and Jones view Portland Christian’s graduation and college attendance rates as a positive accomplishment, especially in light of recent statistics published in The Oregonian.
According to the study, only two of every three students at Oregon public schools will make it to high school graduation. Another study showed that on average, a mere 59 percent of those high school graduates will go on to higher education.
Overall Jones is pleased with the effort by students and staff to beat the state numbers.
“Our students are intentional with their college plans,” Jones said. “They are well equipped to seek out a variety of colleges. It seems all of our graduates who want to attend a four-year institution are academically able to do so.”