A look into three students’ unique post-high school plans.


UAHS has consistently had a high rate of graduates that follow the college-preparatory style of education to universities across the country. This year’s class of 2023 has around a 95% graduation rate, and while most are continuing their education in college, high school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to enter this higher level school system to earn a degree that other options are often forgotten. But within Upper Arlington, there are multiple students who have found interest and passion in different fields. Three of these students shared their story with Arlingtonian.


The Fort Hayes Career Center is, as described on their website, “a public magnet alternative school for students interested in an intensive academic and arts curriculum.” The curriculum allows students from across the Columbus area to dedicate half of their school day to courses specific to their passions and future career interests.

Keegan Hughes is a senior at Upper Arlington who has spent the past two years splitting his school days between UAHS and Fort Hayes working towards being an electrician. He works for Claypool Electric and is currently placed in American Nitrile, a glove factory.

“I basically have my first three or four [UAHS] classes and then I leave school and go to my job site,” he said.

After completing his schooling, Hughes will become a second year apprentice and begin earning a salary. 

“The company I work for does a four year apprenticeship and city deal,” Hughes said. “Basically, you’ll work the same hours being an apprentice or journeyman or foreman or any of those things, but as an apprentice you will do [it] for years of school, which does cost money but they pay it back to you depending on your grades.”

With Upper Arlington having such a college preparatory like syllabus, many students like Hughes figured out early on that college wasn’t the path for them. 

“​​I kind of knew by, like, freshman year of high school that I didn’t want to go to college,” Hughes said. “And I wanted to figure [out] any other option I could and I started hearing about Fort Hayes sophomore year.”

Hughes will begin working shortly after graduation.


As another senior who has gone through the Fort Hayes program, Bekah Harper has her plans for after high school lined up. This summer she will be continuing her internship at Beckett Forge, where she creates metalwork. Harper first got into welding through Fort Hayes after her brother strongly encouraged her to try it out.

“I like art and I want to be able to do something with it because I like working with my hands,” Harper said. “So welding kind of fit in there and I was like, let’s give it a shot. It kind of fit perfectly.”

After the summer, Harper plans to go to Italy as an “au pair,” a helper who lives with and works for a family in another country.

“Essentially I’ll be a live-in nanny because I’ll be matched with a family. And then I’ll be over there and I’ll teach the kids English and I’ll learn Italian and just fully dive into the culture and [get] to experience what their everyday life is like,” Harper said.

Like Hughes, Harper first realized college isn’t the only option through Fort Hayes. The school offers programs that enhance learning in areas offered at UAHS and as well as courses that prepare students for jobs after high school.

“There’s so much out there that UA doesn’t really talk to you about because they’re very hardcore college,” Harper said. “College is a great route for a lot of people, but there’s also so many other options out there. So I figured, why not? Why not try it and see?”


Instead of going to college right out of the gate, senior Max Hetteberg has chosen to go into a unique career by enlisting in the United States Army in February. He will be leaving for Fort Benning, Georgia on July 24.

This has been a longstanding dream for Hetteberg.

“Since I was a kid, you know, you always play army in your backyard… and now you get closer to the actual thing happening, and you’re like, ‘This is something I really want to do,’” he said.

After discussing with his parents, Hetteberg decided it was the right decision for him.

“I can’t sit around knowing that innocent people are getting hurt and that I have the ability to do something about it,” Hetteberg said. “I want to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”

One of the reasons Hetteberg joined the army was to have something different from the “normal” lifestyle.

“For many years, because I went to a private school for most of them, college, desk jobs, the basic kind of lifestyle was always pushed down on you,” he said. “It always felt like the only option.”

One of the things that stood out to him about the army was that it created new types of challenges.

“Everything’s been handed down to me without me doing anything, so I want to earn on my own,” Hetteberg said.

After half a year of training in Fort Benning, Georgia, he will ship out to Hawaii. Hetteberg is a part of option 19, which is a duty station-of-choice enlisting program.

“Your first duty station could be anywhere from two, three, or four years of your contract,” he said. “And I chose Hawaii for only one specific reason: the beach.”