The Norwood High School senior class has been busy this year preparing for what lies ahead after graduation. In just a few months, the Class of 2021 will “walk the stage” — whether this spring’s pandemic restrictions permit them to do so in-person or not.

According to school guidance counselor Rick Williams, students are securing a variety of opportunities beyond high school, despite the uncertainties that have beset them during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the first semester, the seniors had already made several accomplishments.

Williams said he is pleased that seven seniors out of this year’s class of 10 students have been offered admissions to 30 different colleges and universities throughout the U.S. So far, the group has collectively earned $233,500 in academic scholarships. Those numbers are expected to increase over the next few months.

Additionally, the administration at Norwood High School has received the results of this past fall's Preliminary SAT (PSAT) test in which five students, throughout grades eighth through 11th, scored in the 80th percentile or higher nationally. The PSAT is a required college-bound national test that is given to all Norwood students in grades eight to 11 twice each year. 

“This is a remarkable feat and indicative of the educational opportunities provided to our students by our staff at the Norwood Public School District, given that these percentile scores are calculated at the national level. This will open many opportunities for these students as they proceed with their education at our school,” Williams said.

So far, five students in the senior class have already completed their Financial Aid (FAFSA) applications, a lengthy process that determines a student’s potential funding for their college endeavors after high school.

Senior Ayden Ingram has already enlisted in the United States Navy. 

Senior Riley Porter, who previously received the Chang-Chavkin scholarship award, has now been selected as a semifinalist for the Daniels Fund Scholarship. 

The Daniel’s Fund Scholarship award is a highly competitive scholarship program offered to graduating seniors in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming who qualify. Roughly 2,000 students apply each year for the Daniels Fund, and 200 students are awarded a full ride to college.

If selected as a finalist after his interview in February, Porter will be awarded a fully funded four-year college education at the school of his choice.

Last year, Norwood High School senior Saige Morlang won the same award.

Perri Gipner, Norwood’s high school administrator, said she is proud of this year’s senior class and the way they’ve worked through setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a year like no other, the Class of 2021 is still pushing forward,” she told The Norwood Post. “This group not only had their junior year turned on its end, but they are navigating a senior year with an entirely different landscape, and yet they continue to achieve and look towards the future.”