For Matt White and Kelsey Jones deciding on which college to attend is just one of the many choices they will have to face in the next four years.
The youth group at St. Francis of Assisi, Fulton, is attempting to make the transition from high school to college a little smoother.
Mini-courses called “Senior Year: Last Things and Lasting Things” help youths of the parish connect with fellow Catholic high school seniors who are preparing for the world after graduation.
“This gives them a chance for open discussion that they don’t always get,” said Michelle Greiner, coordinator of the leadership team. “They get to ask the questions they want to ask and learn about the Gospel and how to live it out.”
During these mini-courses, the seniors focus on faith sharing, Bible study and keep a journal of their thoughts. Ms. Greiner said these courses are to help the teens make informed choices based on the Gospel. The group invites recent graduates to speak about their experiences, offer advice and answer questions.
“You are prepared academically, but emotionally you might not be ready for that leap,” said Kelsey, 17, who attends Atholton High School in Columbia. “These courses really help with the transition.”
Kelsey and Matt said they have known the people in their youth leadership group for a long time and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and fears about leaving the place they grew up.
“A lot of the focus is on how you continue this focus on God in your daily activities,” said Matt, 17, who attends Hammond High School in Columbia. “It’s awesome to go and discuss our faith and meet new people.”
Kelsey said she realizes not only will she be leaving her friends and family, she will leave her comfort zone. She loves art and going to the art room at school was a safe place for her. At college she will have to search for a place she feels most comfortable.
“What I learned is how much of a family this one aspect of school has become to me,” said Matt, a music enthusiast who plays four instruments.
These courses also give the youths a little more time with each other before going their separate ways, which is very important to Kelsey and Matt.
“Sometimes you are completely clueless as to what you are getting yourself into,” said Kelsey. “But everyone is in the same boat, and you don’t have to feel stupid asking questions.