Senior Success and the Legacy it’s Left on Students


Jared Arenas, Quality Control & Head Editor

Senior Success is a relatively new class that has been offered to students at Centennial High School. The course began in the 2018-2019 school year as an idea from Kristen Klotter, who started out as the Teen-Parent Program Coordinator. As such, she taught the Infant and Toddler Work Experience class and Parenting class, while also assisting any and all pregnant or parenting teens in the Centennial School District. After over a decade of working at the CHS building, she retired on February, 28th following her recent 58th Birthday.

On the surface, the Senior Success and Parenting classes are seemingly on opposite ends of the spectrum on the surface in terms of courses here at CHS, one thing that they both have in common is that they both give students here an opportunity to think about their futures that other choices here otherwise wouldn’t give.

“I actually proposed the class,” Klotter said. “I created it because I wanted to try to create a system where every senior could have the support that they needed during the school day to think about and create a plan for what they would want to do after high school.”

“A lot of teachers I’ve talked to think that it should be required. I’m not sure, because I really like that the students who are there are choosing to be there. I think it’s a different dynamic where they all are supporting each other in thinking about what’s going to happen after high school and sharing information and ideas from their research of colleges and universities, military, [and] trades. And I’m not sure if that same dynamic would be there if it was a required class.”

Klotter admitted that she didn’t do a good job as she had hoped of advertising the class, considering it’s a part of the Career and Technology Education department. She also weighed in the fact that most of the other teachers have fulfilled their job of advertising their own courses, and it being an elective would at times make it harder to gain students.

Despite that, this year had the most students of any second semester since the establishment of the course, much to her surprise. “So usually I have a full 30-35 students [in the] first semester, and then [the] second semester is often a little bit smaller. But we’ve got 30 students in one class, and almost 30 in another second semester. So this is the most students that have ever taken the class in one year.”

“What I think has happened is that I think that students now are talking more earlier in the year about FAFSA and college, and things like that. I think that Centennial was a school that didn’t have a lot of that kind of talk for the whole- probably the first 10/11 years that I was here. And now that we have a more critical mass of students that are taking the class, I think there’s more conversation about [it] which means more students are learning about it.”

“I have really enjoyed teaching the class,” Klotter reflected. “I have stayed in touch with a lot of students later and feel really proud of how hard students work to create a plan for themselves. And we have a demographic at Centennial where there are a lot of students who really want to do better for their families, and I really feel like that’s happening. So I feel really proud and honored that my students trust me to help with such intimate goals.”

Although she’s no longer going to be working on site, she reassured whilst announcing her retirement that this adjustment did not mean she’s going to stop maintaining contact and helping students from her preceding classes. She wants to be seen as an outlet for past students to talk to if they need guidance on college-related matters and endeavors.

As of last month, Eric Bates has taken a break from being a floater teacher to educate the class. Mike Henderson served as the class’s instructor for a month after Klotter left as a placeholder. As of now, the coursework has shifted to more adult-oriented lessons such as cover letters and resumes.