Beyond the Walls of Harwood

Do you wonder what the Harwood Seniors are doing after high school? Will they explore the world, work towards a degree, go into the military, or something else? We surveyed and interviewed many seniors to find out what their plans are after high school and here is where they are going!



71% of all seniors surveyed said they plan on attending college in the fall.

Studying criminal justice with a minor in vocal performance, Danielle is going to her first choice school, Michigan State University. She is the first generation of her family to go to college and excited to see what post high school studies can do for her. She’s off to a fast start: “I actually am going to Italy for three weeks this summer, getting college credit.” She never contemplated a year off school after graduating: “I was afraid that if I did take a gap year then I would never end up getting to college.”

Saint Lawrence University is receiving two Highlanders next year, Alice Lindsey and Izzy Hubble. Izzy plans on studying psychology.  Izzy decided to go to college because the career that she wants to achieve is only accessible with a university degree. Saint Lawrence also has a vibrant study abroad program; about 70% of the students take a semester in another country, “I would be interested in that” said Izzy.

Elan Shems got accepted to Roger Williams, his dream college, and applied to study business management. A year in New Zealand or Milan is one of Elan’s intentions too; “Abroad years provide a lot of good opportunities. You meet a lot of people and it widens your perspective on international business.” College prices don’t worry him: “I’m fortunate enough that my parents are going to pay for me, and I got a scholarship.” He still expresses frustration about  excessive college prices though: “Putting multiple kids through college is a lot of money for some families.”



A top reason some students delay or forgo college altogether is the financial  burden. According to,  the average price for colleges in the United States of America is of $35,331 . This price sums up to $141,324 for four years of college. Many students must take out loans that last up to 30 years. “College is a scam, It’s ridiculous,” said one graduating Highlander. “The tuition prices are very excessive, and it turns away a lot of people,” said another. A third summed it all up: “College prices should be something that we take really seriously in our country. For a lot of people it is not achievable to pay that much to go to college, and many just end up with a lot of debt that can never pay off.



Warren resident and Harwood Senior, Jordan Allison, is taking the vocational path after graduation. Jordan plans to get an apartment in Burlington while he completes the Advanced Welding Institute’s Structural & Pipe Welding program. This is a full time, 6 month program where Jordan will learn A-Z about welding, and he will be able to obtain an entry level position in many different welding disciplines. Then Jordan plans to move to Colorado and move in with another Harwood senior, Alex Lynn. Jordan hopes to get a welding job there, as they are in high demand everywhere.


Gap Year:

28% of seniors surveyed said they will take a gap year, with 75% of them planning to attend college afterwards. Most students taking gap years plan on traveling, working, or a combination of both.

Unforgettable graduating senior, Brennen Dasaro, has decided to take time off from school before heading to Montana State University (MSU). One of the primary reasons Brennen states he took a gap year is to try to get in-state tuition for college, reducing the overall cost of attending. For a 6 month span during his gap year Brennen plans to do an AmeriCorps or WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program working on farms. Brennen says one of the draws for this type of work is the ability to be in the great outdoors every day. After this, Brennen’s plan is to “work and ski bum” in Montana, enjoying life before college. While studying Environmental Science at MSU, Brennan also hopes to study abroad, something that he did in middle school in Argentina with his father, maybe to Asia this time.


Mad River Valley native, Ella Cook, is also taking a gap year right after high school. Ella’s plan is from October to November to travel to Hawaii with her best friend, Bella Snow, working on a farm collecting fruit, enjoying nature, and just living the life in Hawaii. As Ella put it, “Hawaii sounds real nice right about now.” In December, Ella will come back to VT and do some working and traveling. Ella also contemplates a stint in New York City, but still is a bit unsure about it. The gap year reflects Ella’s indecision about college. She said, “I just knew deep down that I was not ready to go to college, I did not have any drive to get a degree. I’m not a school person.” Her intended career, digital art/photography, does not necessarily require a university degree, and during her gap year she can build her portfolio. Ella also spoke on the avantages she sees a gap year has for anybody, “I think gap years are a really great option, especially for all the people who are really stressed out and don’t exactly know what they want to do in the future, It gives you a extra year to learn. You can be independent, go off and do whatever you want, have fun, enjoy yourself, learn your likes and dislikes, and learn so many thing about yourself you would otherwise not know.”




Cameron Merchant is taking a different path than most Harwood seniors. In the US Air Force, he will specialize in warfare explosive ordnance disposal. Cameron picked the Air Force because “My great grandfather was an Air Force survival instructor for pilots in the Vietnam war, so I grew up with that influence in my family.” Cameron says he has always been generally drawn to the military. With bases all over the globe, he’ll be able to see the world. In addition to travel and a change of lifestyle, the GI bill will pay for college after his service is over. He’s excited to work in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). EOD technicians identify, render safe, and dispose of explosive, biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear threats. The Air Force is known for having their living accommodations be more similar to single college dorms instead of typical barracks, and overall Cameron thinks the USAF is a great fit for him.