Four years later, high school students still benefit from future centers

Planning for college can be a daunting task for high school students, but one local organization is committed to making it an easier transition.

It’s been four years since the La Crosse Promise placed future centers in four local high schools. This is the first graduating class at Central High School that has had access to a future center all four years.      

One student said she has been using the future center since she was a freshman and she couldn’t imagine her getting ready for college without it.

Mattie Krause has spent the last four years walking the halls of Central High School, but now she is getting ready for the next step in her life.

“I am going to be attending UW-La Crosse in the fall, majoring in biomedicine, with intent to go to med school after that,” said Krause.

Krause has had her sights set on the medical field for years, but over the past few, the future center has helped make it more concrete.

“I’d say I am in here on a regular basis,” said Krause.

“The future centers are privately funded drop-in centers where we guide students regarding career selection, how to find the right college or school for what it is you want to do and how to find scholarship dollars to make it more affordable. We also help navigate the maze involved in enrolling in school, getting all the paper work together and helping students set up their college emails accounts and so on,” said Jerilyn Dinsmoor, executive director of La Crosse Promise.

Krause’s advisor, Hayley Moe, has been with the program basically from the beginning.

“At least 30 students come in throughout the week,” said Moe.

Moe said the program has really progressed over the years, but the goal has remained the same.

“That they do something after high school. I don’t necessarily care if they go off to college, but I want them to do something, whether that is going into the military, armed forces, or starting at Western and then going to a four-year college,” said Moe.

For Krause, the future center is just the beginning of her success story.

“My husband last year said that we should measure our progress on how many graduation parties I get invited to every year, and every year I’ve gotten invited to more and more graduation parties,” said Moe.

Krause said Moe has already received her invitation for her graduation party.

“She will be coming. It’s a taco bar, so it should be fun,” said Krause.

There are currently four future centers set-up at Central High School, Logan High School, Aquinas High School and Luther High School. Over the past four years, advisors have scheduled nearly 10,000 one-on-one meetings with students to help plan for the future.

During the first year of the future centers, advisors were reaching about 35 to 45 percent of the student population. Dinsmoor said that is up to about 85 percent now.

Dinsmoor said the future centers are making a difference. The La Crosse School District is usually at about 59 percent when it comes to students actually enrolling in college in the fall, but last year, 64 percent of the graduating class ended up going to college.