By Trina Trice
As graduation looms for more than 2,000 high school seniors, several students contemplate or plan their journeys after 12 years of public schooling.
Although more than half of Clayton County graduates are eligible to attend college upon graduation, some students opt not to, choosing to enter the workforce over further their studies.
Since March 2003 the job unemployment rate has remained at 5.7 percent. Because of the ailing economy, college enrollment continues to grow.
Blake Millie, Jonesboro High School senior, is attending Ivy League school Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
"I'd kind of always wanted to go up north to a prestigious college," Millie said. "I'm a little bit nervous about leaving the security of home and I'm a little bit sad about leaving my friends. But I'm anxious and excited. I want to expand my horizons and experience a very diverse student body."
Unlike Millie, approximately 35.3 percent of Clayton County graduates attend state public schools, according to the Georgia Public Education Report Card for 2001-2002.
Frankie Grooms, senior at Mt. Zion High School, is planning to attend the University of Georgia where she hopes to major in biology.
As for what she'll miss about high school, Grooms said, "I made a big name for myself in high school. I'll have to start over. My name won't be as big. But I'm looking forward to meeting new people and being out on my own and learning from that. I'm looking forward to experiencing new things."
Forest Park High School student Eddy Treadway isn't sure, yet, what he wants to do.
"Last year I started thinking about the business and psychology aspects" of his studies, he said. "The reality of graduating hasn't sunk in yet."
Treadway is saving the summer and fall for self-reflection.
"I'm not 100 percent sure I'm ready for that transition in my life, to go from high school and college," he said. "I'm going to work and find myself, I guess."
During his time in the workforce, Treadway plans to keep his job at Chick-fil-A where he has been for two years. Treadway hopes he'll be able to build up his savings and his credit that will help to pay for college once he decides to go.
"I just want to truly find what I want to do and what would suit the economy the best."
North Clayton High School senior Van Ngo won't be going to college, at least not immediately after graduation.
"I'm going to basic training into the Marines," Ngo said.
Following his first stint in the Marines, Ngo would like to join the Reserves while he attends Clayton College & State University to study math.
"I want to be a pilot," Ngo said. "I'm training to make a career out of the United State Marine Corps."