The long road ahead

With the quickly approaching graduation date for USD 266 seniors, the class of 2023 prepares for the next steps of their life through finding their dream career.


Visual by Nathan Wituk

College preparation deals with applications, tours, scholarships, and more, all while still going through high school. Maize South counselor Brooke Sorenson biggest advice to seniors is to apply to every scholarship possible. “Sometimes, scholarships have no applicants and then they’re trying to find people to apply.”

Isabelle Blasdel and Nathan Wituk

Sitting on a couch next to her mom, watching crime TV shows as a little kid, Maize South senior Violet Strong had an instant spark of interest in the criminal field of performing autopsies.

As the thought of walking across the stage for graduation nears, seniors across the nation prepare for the next stages of their life, whether they know every detail about their steps or not.

Forensic Pathologists work with corpses to discover the cause of death, with this job comes 13 years of education and a pay of $65,000 to $280,000. Strong’s inspiration for science is her teacher Robbye Herrington. (Illustration by Nathan Wituk. Information from,, and

Strong stands at only 5-foot 4-inches tall but plans to pursue a career with coworkers 6 feet underground, forensic pathology: the study of examining corpses to discover the cause of death.

From her favorite crime shows, NCIS and CSI: Miami, to her growing interest in the medical field, Strong is going to college to become a forensic pathologist,  a combination of medicine and mystery.

“I watched a lot of crime tv shows with my mom when I was little, and when I got to high school and was exposed to more of the medical field, I looked into something I could do involving the medical field and crime,” Strong said.

Strong has to go through an undergraduate program, medical school, four to five years of residency, and a fellowship that could take anywhere from one to three years, but she has not thought about college too much yet.

“Everything involved with college has been a little confusing and I tend to get lost on some college websites,” she said.

Excited to take higher-up French classes and have more freedom, Strong feels prepared for some aspects of college life.

“I feel that I’ve been prepared for some of the academic aspects of college but I feel like there are a lot of things involved in living on your own that I haven’t really been prepared for,” she said.

If Strong could change something about high school, she would take some of her classes earlier.

“Save all the fun classes for later in school, so your senior and junior years aren’t ridiculously hard,” Strong said.

Maize South senior Adley Nusz developed a quick interest in Japan from history classes learning about the ancient culture to educating herself in Japanese art and media

Maize South Graduation
Congrats Class of 2023!

Similar to Strong, Nusz deals with the pressure of graduating high school and making her post-graduation plans.

Nusz plans to attend the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire to learn about teaching English language arts, teaching English as a second language, and Japanese. After college, she plans to move to Japan and use her degree to teach children how to speak English and hopes to develop a comfortable learning environment within her class.

“The culture around school and the relationships with teachers is often different in Japanese schools, but I still believe that creating a comfortable environment with my students, where they feel safe to both succeed and more importantly fail, is critical,” Nusz said.

Interested in ELA from a young age, Nusz believes English is a complex language that is becoming a universal subject.

“I want to help non-native speakers discover the intricacies of the language while uncovering the depth of theirs,” Nusz said. “It’s also a great way to travel while working.”

Nusz believes that her teaching will have an impact on her students and her as well.

“I think that teaching English, while also having a grasp on my student’s native language, will help bridge the gap between conversational understanding of English and fluency,” Nusz said. “This will open up many doors for my students and provide them with several opportunities in a world that is becoming increasingly English-centered.”

To prepare for college, Nusz took college credit courses and observed teachers and students in classrooms throughout the district.

“When I met with the head of the English department at my chosen college, she expressed how impressed she was with my list of college courses, but most of all my time spent with actual students in a teaching setting,” Nusz said. “The career-focused courses have allowed us students to gain perspective on our potential careers and get ahead of those our age.”

 College creates new learning and outside-of-school experiences for students that their high school courses will hopefully prepare them for. 

“There are certain portions of college that high school simply cannot prepare you for,” Nusz said. “ You have to be completely self

As English becomes an increasingly worldwide language, Nusz hopes to help young children in Japan how to better speak English. “English is becoming a universal language, spoken all across the globe,” Nusz said. “Many countries require school-aged children to begin learning it with English classes.” (Illustration by Nathan Wituk. Information from

-reliant and hold yourself accountable, this is something almost entirely separate from the high school experience.”

With Maize’s career pathways, Nusz’s advice to incoming freshmen is to “rework your mindset” and take introductory courses that sound interesting instead of choosing one thing at the age of 14 and never exploring other options.

“Take introductory classes you may be interested in,” Nusz said. “That may mean taking fire science and intro to teaching at the same time, and that’s awesome. Use them as a tool to discover yourself, not to decide your future in one swing.”