College flags and banners line the hallways of Caprock High School as the senior class anxiously counts down the days until graduation.
This year, for the first time in school history, all 417 graduating seniors share one thing in common - everyone has applied for college. Senior Professional School Counselor Mandy Abernethy made it her personal goal to make sure this happened, not only for the school, but for each individual student as well.
"I realized how many students from the previous class didn't even apply, so I decided we are going to get everyone to apply," she told us. Working with a group of colleges, Abernethy and her team worked individually with the students to make sure everyone could successfully apply to college. While many sent out applications to four year school, Abernethy said the term college is a broad one, and also included trade or technical schools, and the military.
"By December we had every student apply for at least one college. January rolled around and we had a few more students enrolled but they've already finished their applications so we are back to 100 percent," Abernethy said.
While it has been a time consuming and meticulous act, it has greatly helped students like Ivey Arenas who will be the first person in her family to apply and go to college.
"I wouldn't really know what to do without the help of this faculty. They pretty much guide you through the whole process," Arenas said.
For Abernethy, knowing she has helped all 417 students has surpassed her hopes for the 2015 graduating class.
"Just seeing those students who never thought they were college material, never were interested in going to apply and get accepted, and now they are going to go to college, it's been a great accomplishment for us," she said. But something maybe even more important is Abernathey and her team's constant reminder that "after Caprock, comes college."