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'Every student has a calling in their life'

by CAROLYN BOSTICK
Staff Writer | April 3, 2024 1:05 AM

SPIRIT LAKE — With classes, tests, extracurriculars and a social life to manage, contemplating life after high school may be overwhelming to some students.

However, Timberlake High School college and career adviser Sebastian Kelley believes determining the "why" behind what students want to do as a career is the way to start breaking down steps in the process.

Timberlake High School was recently selected as one of the winners for the American College Application Campaign’s School of Excellence Award. Timberlake was the only school from Idaho to receive the award.

Kelley called it “such an amazing honor” and was proud of the commitment school staff made to carve out individualized plans for post-high school preparedness.

“I believe every student has a calling in their life and they need to know that someone will help them reach that calling,” Kelley said.

Idaho State Board of Education representative Jenni Kimball nominated Timberlake for the honor and said she was thrilled it was named one of the 27 winners.

“Staff and advisers worked really hard to ensure every senior had the opportunity to apply to college and I’m so proud of their accomplishment. Their efforts are impacting lives in such a positive way,” Kimball said.

Timberlake High School Principal Ryne Eberlin said Timberlake is consistently at the top for Idaho Standards Achievement Test scores and graduation rate. 

He said when it came to dedicating school resources to college and career preparedness, staff set aside dedicated spaces to assist students with applying for college and finding work and an accessible space in the building for students to connect with colleges and businesses. 

“When our students go home, many don’t have reliable internet. Mr. Kelley has colleges, military and employers on campus nearly every day,” Eberlin said.

Every senior at Timberlake applied to at least one college using the Apply Idaho application, compared to 54% of all seniors in Idaho. Timberlake’s engagement with the Idaho Launch program also resulted in a large percentage of the senior class qualifying for the college grant award.

Kelley’s hope is that the success of the program at Timberlake can inspire schools to begin career talks in elementary and middle school to help them better understand what they’re capable of doing and what needs to be done in order to achieve their dreams. 

“I am just so excited to see what is next for the students of Timberlake High School,” Kelley said.