Pandemic and Economy Change School Plans for the College Bound
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
August 13, 2020
ROCKFORD—The resiliency shown by the Class of 2020 in handling cancelled senior milestones like prom and graduation is being tested even further as they navigate plans for higher education. 
Some recent Boylan Central Catholic High School graduates and their parents shared changes and challenges in planning for the future.
“There are extremes on both sides of how to deal with COVID-19 and I think I fall somewhere in the middle. We can’t prevent everything, but we can be smart and be careful,” said Anna Derocher about her son’s decision to attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix this fall. 
“I want Luke to have as much of a normal college experience as he can. I want him to be able to spread his wings and really truly become an adult,” she added.
Derocher said she is comfortable with GCU’s back to school plan which begins with having students take online classes from home until the end of September when students will be allowed in campus housing and to attend classes in person. 
“We had to consider that Arizona is spiking in its number of COVID-19 cases and that the later start date means that the weather is better and classes could be held outside. We had to decide if we were still OK with sending Luke to campus, and we are,” she said.
The affordability of Grand Canyon University, and the fact that college costs will be prorated to reflect the later start date, were also positive considerations for Luke and his family.
“I think I’ve always known that I would be going to Marquette University even with three of my six classes being online,” said Katie Milos. “I am nervous about the uncertainty of how long we’ll be able to stay on campus, and that’s hard to think about.”
Katie’s mother, Mary said she appreciates what the university is doing to protect its students from COVID-19. “We are on a Facebook parents’ page which is a constant feed of information from the university, connected with the city of Milwaukee. My husband Glen and I are placing our trust in Marquette. 
“We also very much appreciate Marquette’s commitment to the Ignatian philosophy of caring for the total person,” Mary said, adding each student at Marquette will be given a mask, thermometer and hand sanitizer when they arrive on campus and will be encouraged to have a “quarantine kit.”
 “It’s a lot for these kids to be away from home for the first time, manage their time and the discipline of taking online classes and then on top of everything, have to deal with this pandemic,” said Katherine Schmid, head of Boylan’s career and technical education department and the mother of Gretchen Schmid. 
Gretchen had planned to follow in her four older brothers’ footsteps and attend Iowa State University in Ames this fall, majoring in graphic design. Her plans changed, however, mostly due to economic reasons.
“For our family, the decision for Gretchen to stay home and enroll at Rock Valley College was a very practical financial decision,” Katherine said. “By attending online community college classes, she could save money, take those general education requirements and, when she does go away to school, she will already have experience in college level classes.” 
Gretchen’s acceptance and scholarships to Iowa State will be held until January of 2021 to give her additional time to plan her educational future.
“We felt that COVID-19 actually reinforced the choice of college for our son,” said Lori  Girgenti about her son David’s decision to attend Carthage College. 
“Being a smaller college community in a smaller town, Kenosha, there is more of a chance for in person classes rather than remote learning. We picked a school in Wisconsin because there are fewer restrictions on in person classes and David can play fall baseball at Carthage. We also appreciate the college’s Christian background,” Lori said.
“The whole underlying threat of coronavirus has kind of taken away some of the excitement about going away to college,” Katie said, “but I think I’ve gotten used to places being closed and events being cancelled this summer. I’m still excited to be able to live on campus and have that experience.”
Editor’s note: Lynne Conner’s daughter Cara, also a 2020 Boylan grad, was planning to attend Illinois State University in Bloomington this fall. Since learning all of her ISU classes were online only, that the campus would be closed to visitors and due to family employment concerns, Cara will be attending Rock Valley Community College in Rockford this year with plans to transfer to ISU later.


Shop Religious items at HOLYART.COM