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One year later: 2009 high school graduates reflect on plans

Staff writer

For some members of the class of 2009, everything is going according to plan. For others, changes in their plans worked out for the better.

In June 2009, several high school graduates from Marion County shared their plans. One year later, Viktoria Bichet, Joseph Bryant, Abi Humber, Kayla Nickelson, and Kristin Unruh responded to a request for an update of their post-graduation plans.

Viktoria Bichet

Bichet’s plans as a Hillsboro High School graduate have gone almost exactly as expected. She is working in the family business, ASAP Auto Glass, and has taken a second job to help pay for a house.

The economy has taken its toll on her effort to buy a house, because banks have enacted stricter lending standards.

“Things are good, tough, but nothing worse than what I expected,” Bichet said.

Joseph Bryant

Joseph Bryant, a Marion High School graduate, is now a private first class in the Marine Corps.

“I like it a lot,” he said. “It’s actually been better than I thought it would be.”

He expected to be deployed overseas immediately after boot camp, but instead he is being trained to become an electronics technician. When his training is finished, he will likely be deployed to keep high-tech equipment operating.

He is stationed in Twentynine Palms, Calif. Bryant will begin a five-month class on communication electronics June 11. He expects to be promoted to lance corporal in about two months.

He wants to make a career of service in the Marine Corps. He said he knows several marines who hated much of their first enlistment period, but grew to enjoy the service and remain in active duty more than a decade later.

Abi Humber

HHS alumna Abi Humber doesn’t remember what she expected when she moved to Chicago to attend North Park University, but much of the first semester was spent adjusting to the change.

“Having total independence was a big difference from my life in Hillsboro, but so was having to start all over with friendships,” Humber said. “I remember being super excited to have a fresh slate, but it got old when I just wanted someone who knew and understood me as well as my friends from home.”

Humber is double majoring in communications and Spanish, and she plans to study in Mexico during the spring 2011 semester.

With Facebook and texting, she has kept in touch with many of her closest friends.

“My favorite thing is when my best North Park friends get to meet my Hillsboro friends!” she said.

Kayla Nickelson

MHS graduate Kayla Nickelson enjoys her studies in commercial and advertising arts at Salina Technical College.

Her college experience has been more laid back than she expected, partly because her classes involve more hands-on work than taking notes in a lecture.

She continues to pursue photography part-time.

“It has always been a hobby for me, and I don’t think I could give it up,” Nickelson said.

Her work has included senior pictures, two weddings, and Salina Tech’s graduation. She has established a photography page on Facebook and has been surprised by the positive feedback from strangers.

Kristin Unruh

Goessel graduate Kristin Unruh started at Bethel College as a social work major but quickly decided it wasn’t for her.

“I am definitely meant to work with kids in a classroom setting,” Unruh said. “I am now an elementary education/special education major.”

She didn’t know what to expect when she went to college, but she has been pleasantly surprised.

“I wasn’t expecting to feel so at home,” she said. “Bethel literally feels like a second home to me. I have a loving and incredible family there too, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Last modified June 10, 2010

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