NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – When a lot of us think about “Signing Day”, what comes to mind is that first Wednesday every February, when high school athletes around the country can begin signing letters of intent to play at a specific college or university. At North Tonawanda High School, though, signing day is for all seniors, not just those who play sports.
Seniors were invited to put their post-graduation plans on paper Thursday during their lunch periods, posting “Reach Higher” signs at their school as a commitment to pursue their educational dreams after they get their high school diplomas in June.
“I think it’s a step toward my future, and I’m really excited to start college next year,” said one senior, Camryn Porter, who will be attending Daemen College in the fall.
Signing Day happens every year for North Tonawanda High School seniors between February and April. This year, it’s taking place in early February to coincide with other college and career-readiness programming for other K-12 students in the district.
This year’s Signing Day, which is organized by the North Tonawanda High School school counselors, happens to fall during National School Counseling Week, too.
“It’s really a day to celebrate them and get them started thinking about where they want to go,” said one of the school counselors behind the Signing Day event, Jennifer Kupiec. “Either community college, four year colleges — the Culinary Institute in Niagara falls is huge right now — and we try to give them the most experience and awareness and resources possible so that they can make that best decision for them.”
Whatever their post-graduation plans, the school counselors are helping make sure students are excited about what’s next. Signing Day featured everything from a “Future-gram” photobooth, to music, to raffles for everything from prom tickets to local college gear.
North Tonawanda High School Senior Rhett Stauffer, who plans to study engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica next year, says this is a big day for him. “The next chapter of our life pretty much starts now,” he told News 4.
“It means a lot,” agreed Brandon Stychalaska, who plans to study biomedical engineering at UB after leaving high school. “It just shows all the hard work that I put in through high school and now I can see it paying off.”
“I’m getting ready for the next part of my life,” he added.
Of course, not every high school senior knows what the next part of their life will entail at this point in the school year. There are still a few more months before graduation.
For those undecided students, school counselors say this is a good opportunity to commit to thinking about post-graduation plans and dreaming big for their futures.