by Jessica Gonzalez
According to 2015 Andrada Polytechnic High School graduate Kailey Johnson, there is no more time to waste.
Now that she can look back upon her high school education, she wants to share one of her most important lessons – spring semester of your senior year is a critical time for every student to take a serious look at opportunities to continue your education. “Start applying for at least five scholarships every day,” Johnson says. “It sounds daunting, but the more you apply, the more likely you are to get money for school.”
For Johnson, beginning her postsecondary education was a direct result of planning, working on her Education and Career Action Plan (ECAP) and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Johnson’s inspirational story, and others, can now be found on a new website, FutureMeAZ.com.
An estimated 68 percent of all jobs in Arizona will require postsecondary education or training by 2020, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “It is vital for students to continue their education beyond high school, whether that is through an internship, apprenticeship, the military, or college,” says Linda Jensen, director of the Arizona College Access Network. “We encourage students to create a plan – just like Kailey Johnson did – to help them achieve their education, career, and life goals.”
Johnson first started preparing for a career in the medical field when she began taking medical assistant courses in high school. She graduated from high school with her medical assistant license. Her plan to become a nurse was solidified as she cared for her ill mother before she passed away. “One of the last pieces of advice my mom gave me was to follow my dream and be a nurse,” Kailey said. “It’s my passion. And the lifestyle will let me do everything else I want to do in my life.”
Kailey’s training in high school made her prerequisite nursing courses easier because she already knew much of the material. And being a licensed medical assistant means she is able to work at a good paying job while she attends college.
Johnson has now finished all of her prerequisite nursing classes and has applied to nursing programs around the state. Future Me, a pilot communications campaign aimed at increasing the number of high school seniors who pursue postsecondary education, is asking high school seniors in Vail, “What’s your plan?” The new FutureMeAZ.com website showcases a variety of students’ approaches to planning for their futures. Funded by Helios Education Foundation through the Arizona College Access Network, the Future Me pilot is working with eight school districts statewide to encourage students to continue their education after high school, to include the Tucson Unified School District and Vail Unified School District.