Senior Decision Day Celebrates Continuing Education

Filed under: Schools |

Counting down the days until graduation, hundreds of Duncanville High School seniors have committed to continuing their education in universities, community colleges, or technical schools. DHS College Advisor Kevin Westerman wants to celebrate that commitment. That’s why he has organized the school’s first Senior Decision Day on May 16.

The 2011-12 school year is Westerman’s first at DHS, which is one of 120 schools across the state to receive a full-time college advisor from the Advise TX College Advising Corps. Headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin, Advise TX also has chapters at Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, and Trinity University. Each chapter recruits, hires, and trains their own graduates to serve as advisors in selected partner high schools. Westerman is a recent graduate of Texas A&M. He says he got the idea for Senior Decision Day from the National College Advising Corps, which promotes an end of the year celebration for graduates planning to pursue higher education. “Many students here at DHS will be first-generation college students, and that in itself is something that should be celebrated. I just want everyone involved to have a good time. They deserve to be acknowledged in front of their peers, family, and friends.”

Taking place on May 16 at 6:00 pm, Senior Decision Day will be held in the DHS Shine Performance Hall. Representatives from Texas A&M, the University of Texas, SMU, the University of Houston, Stephen F Austin, UNT, UNT-Dallas, UTA, Prairie View A&M, and Texas A&M Commerce will be on hand to greet future students and supply them with spirit gear. The night will also include a “Current College Student Panel” question and answer time with DHS graduates Vernon King and Chelsea Hooper, among others. Food will be provided by a local Chick-fil-A with ties to the district.

Free for all DHS graduates and their families, those who wish to attend must first show Westerman their acceptance letter to a post-secondary institution and sign up on a list located in the Counseling Center. “Decision Day is being funded by the same grant that is funding me being here,” explained Westerman. “Each advisor is allocated a certain amount to spend on things throughout the year, and I am spending my whole allocation on this event.” Students are asked to dress business casual, preferably wearing the colors of the school they’ll attend in the fall. The first event of its kind at Duncanville High School, Westerman hopes it will become a tradition.

And while seniors are showing their acceptance letters, Westerman also asks that they bring award letters for any financial assistance they will receive. Setting a scholarship goal of $3 million at the beginning of the school year, current totals are nearly $4 million with only 59 seniors reporting. Westerman is planning a special surprise for Senior Decision Day attendees because they’ve exceeded scholarship expectations. He has also set a new goal of $5 million and is confident that the Class of 2012 can reach it. If you know a DHS senior who has not reported a scholarship to Mr. Westerman, email the award letter to!