The Purple Clarion

The Student News Site of Harrisburg High School

The Purple Clarion

The Purple Clarion

Hit the ground or hit the books

Students choose between college, trades
Riley Mize
Earlier this year, students had the opportunity to attend Allied Health Day at SIC. Freshman Eden Douglas and sophomore Kylee Bridewell apply tourniquets to freshman Mackenzie Reeves and Madalyn Poore’s arm before practicing injections at the event.

As the 2024 school year winds down, many seniors are looking forward to college while others are considering a different path for their lives.

Entering a trade has become an attractive option, particularly in the last few years. “Mechanic and repair trade programs saw an enrollment increase of 11.5 percent from spring 2021 to 2022, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. Enrollment in construction trades courses increased by 19.3 percent, while culinary program enrollment increased 12.7 percent.”

“I’m thinking about going to the North American Lineman Training Center (NALTC) to get my required training and certification to be a lineman,” senior Max Maynor said.

A technical school of sorts, the NALTC is located in McEwen, Tennesee, and is the largest trade school in that state. According to the school’s website, it was established in 2006 and graduates hundreds of prospecting linemen yearly.

Programs such as the one they offer can be attractive to students.

“In my opinion, a technical school offers a more hands-on approach to learning, and usually, they are cheaper and don’t take as long as traditional colleges,” Maynor said.

With tuition at about $14,000 for the entire program, NALTC is substantially cheaper than many four-year colleges, such as SIUC with tuition of just over $15,400 per semester.

“With it being less expensive, and cheaper, it means that I can join the workforce quicker and at a younger age,” Maynor said. “There’s higher job placement when going to a technical school, and they focus more on the career rather than many different topics.”

Others, however, don’t want to decide right now as choosing a career for the rest of one’s life while fresh out of high school can be intimidating. Some may find it good to take a year off to decide what they want to do in the future.

Senior Jake Blimline is planning to take a gap year, time taken by a student as a break between secondary school and higher education.

“During my break, I plan on playing music and traveling as much as possible,”  Blimline said.

Blimline plans to join the workforce or go back to school in the fall of 2025.

“Having a college degree definitely has advantages. It has the ability to get a better job, but does not guarantee it. Certain degrees, such as many of the fine arts degrees, do not provide many jobs if any at all,” Blimline said.

Many seniors have their eyes set on going to college and earning a degree.

“I’m going to SIC to join the nursing program,” senior Mary Beth Winkleman said. “I know college isn’t for everyone, but I’m confident that the path I’m choosing to take will benefit me. However, others may thrive without the need of extra education.”

Both college and going into the workforce offer different opportunities for students with different needs and skill sets. However, both are changes from what students experience in high school.

“I’m excited for the new atmosphere that college offers. I’ve lived by the same schedule for most of my life, so I’m interested to see how college will change that,” Winkleman said.

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About the Contributors
Gavinn Swann
Gavinn Swann, Staff Writer
Gavinn Swann is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is his first year on the Purple Clarion Staff. He participates in History Club, Future Educators Club and plays trumpet in Concert Band, Jazz Band and Marching band. He cares about the arts and the finer details in life.  Gavinn also cares about education and aviation. In his spare time he is always learning, and aspires to be a commercial pilot.  “Student journalism is important to me because it helps develop your writing skills while giving your work a platform to be judged upon.” 
Riley Mize
Riley Mize, Staff Writer
Riley Mize is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her second year on the Purple Clarion staff. She participates in YFC and White Hats. Riley also likes to take photos, hiking and traveling.  After high school she plans on attending a university in Colorado, pursue her career in nursing and to become a nurse anesthetist.  “Allowing students to express what is going on in the world through stories and articles, being allowed to put their opinion in things if they feel a certain way about something, is really something I am grateful we get to do, and is also important.” 

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