Providence Cristo Rey High School alumni, Brittany Plummer and Jonathan Wells, returned to give advice to students currently attending their alma mater.
Plummer and Wells graduated from Providence Cristo Rey in 2011, and both earned their Bachelor's degree from Indiana State University. They were some of the first students to graduate from PCR, and have returned over the years to see how their former school has grown.
Plummer is an ESL teacher and a world traveler. Her most recent placement in South Korea just ended, and she will be heading to Vietnam soon to continue teaching.
Wells works for a construction management firm, and lives in Arkansas.
They asked to speak to current PCRHS students, and we gladly accepted! Here are five lessons they shared:
1. What you do now matters.
"If I could go back and give myself advice, it would be that what I do during high school matters. If you have a mentality of working hard now, that will carry over into your freshman year of college and you will start off strong," said Plummer.
Wells shared, "Your GPA matters in high school. The habits you are building will carry over into college. Don't tell yourself that you can slack off now and get serious in college - that doesn't work."
2. Don't wait for help to come to you.
When asked about advice on getting scholarships, Plummer said, "You have to be the one to reach out. You cannot wait for someone to put an application in your hand, you need to go to the college counselor and ask for resources."
3. Apply for every single scholarship that comes your way.
Wells emphasized that doing the work of applying to scholarships will pay off. "If I had known then what I know now, I would have applied to everything that came my way. Start now. This is the perfect time to apply for scholarships. It's not the last minute, and you have time."
4. Use your corporate work study connections
In high school, Wells was interested in becoming an architect. One of his corporate work study partners, Shiel Sexton, helped him find a career that fit his skills better.
"During my senior year, one of the vice presidents of the company told me I should consider being a project manager. Because of corporate work study, I was able to see real life examples of that career path, and it led me to where I am today. I earned my degree in construction management, and I am still in that field today."
Plummer hit on the importance of networking. "When you reach out to people, you make connections. Figure out why your co-workers are where they are in their career. Being able to work in a professional environment in high school is a big deal. Even if the company or department you are in isn't where you see your career going, you can still learn from the people you work with. They might be connected to someone that is in the field you want to pursue.
5. A small environment makes a difference.
For Wells and Plummer, the small environment of Providence Cristo Rey helped them succeed later in life. "I learned discipline at this school," said Wells.
"I got multiple second chances here, but I always knew the teachers believed in me. They saw something in me that I didn't see in myself yet."
Thank you to Jonathan and Brittany for their wonderful advice!