Return to Headlines

Senior Send-off Prepares 600 Students for Life After High School

Senior Send-off Prepares 600 Students for Life After High School

11th annual event gives practical advice


Jim Cadotte

Presenter Jim Cadotte speaks to students about generational differences in the workforce and how to work around them.


For 11 years, the Wichita Falls ISD has taken full advantage of a senior’s waning days of high school to amp up its practical instruction on life skills.


On March 29, WFISD hosted Senior Send-off, now in its 11th year. Seniors who are just weeks away from graduation were invited to a workshop to sit in on several seminars aimed at helping them navigate those first few years out of high school.


This year, students chose from 13 topics, ranging from marketing yourself in the workforce to cooking for yourself at home.


Local businessmen and women lent their expertise by leading workshop sessions that stressed practical ideas and advice.


“Our goal is that you will take what you learn today and apply it after you graduate,” said January Jones to the crowd of nearly 600 students from all three high schools. Ms. Jones directs WFISD’s Partners in Education program, which sponsors this annual event.


Superintendent Mike Kuhrt opened the workshop with a warning. “Be present. We have seen so much tragedy here in North Texas lately,” he said. “Make good decisions. Ask questions in each session.”


The best part about graduating, said Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana, who also addressed the group, is that you get a fresh start. “You’re now responsible for yourself,” he said.


He reminded students there’s nothing in their way to stop their success. “You can only blame yourself, folks. There’s nothing standing in your way.”


Another highlight of graduating is that every graduate now gets to write his or her own story. “You get to be you,” he said. He listed his own accomplishments – starting three businesses, one of which generates $22 million in sales – and now recently became the first elected minority mayor in Wichita Falls. “I wasn’t a straight A student. I worked hard. Create your own story,” he said.


He encouraged students to do what he does: Keep two lists handy every day – one for short-term goals and one for long-term goals. “Set 10 goals. Make progress every single day. If you don’t write it down, you’ll forget it,” he said.


Workshop topics

Students selected several sessions from this list:

  • Gizmos and Gadgets, on evolving technology
  • Workforce-Trending Jobs for the Future
  • Team Building, on leadership skills
  • Debunking CSI Myths, on CSI inaccuracies
  • Career Choices: Building a Ladder for Success
  • Marketing You
  • Criminal Justice: Learning Today, Earning Tomorrow
  • Life After High School (open a checking account, etc.)
  • Scotty P’s Kitchen, on meal preparation
  • Finding Your Place: Millennials Enter the World
  • College Life: What Can I Expect?
  • Uncle Sam’s the Ticket! (military careers)
  • Workforce Solutions North Texas



Senior Send-off was sponsored by United Supermarkets, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., American National Bank, Durham School Services, Wichita Falls ISD, and Partners in Education.