College bound Highland Park High School Seniors receive gift baskets from Advisors Excel

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The stress of moving on to college just got a lot easier for 50 seniors at Highland Park High School Friday.

Graduates who will start at two and four year colleges next school year received dorm supply laundry baskets filled with things they might need for the next phase of their lives.

Advisors Excel filled laundry baskets with items like pillows, sheet sets, and other essential items that might be tough to find when starting school but also in the wake of COVID-19.

"We're taking something off their plate and something they won't need to spend their hard earned money on and they can focus on other things that'll lhelp them be successful in college or post secondary education or life,” Advisors Excel Director of Community Engagement Lindsay Freeman said.

They can focus on college, instead of hunting for hard-to find items for their new classes.

"This is something we haven't faced in the past years that we've helped and we've just tried to find the items that they need but that might be tricky to find so we've equipped the baskets with everything we can possibly think of."

Highland Park Interim Principal Danny Ackerman said he is confident the seniors, who had their final year of high school cut short because of COVID-19, was resilient in adapting to the changes.

He believed how these students handled the stress this year will show how well they'll succeed in their communities later.

"I think this is class is very well prepared for what's coming next because of what's occurred,” Ackerman said.

"They've kind of taken on the attitude of 'it is what it is' and they see the kind of things in society like what needs to be fixed and they can be on the front end of really making a change for the better in the world moving forward."

Katie Macias, is one of the graduates who is already navigating the COVID impacted world; she still had to report to her job while finishing her classes but she was still determined to make the end of her final year of high school her best school year yet.

"I would wake up, do whatever school I had to do and get whatever I had to do finished go to work, go home wash, rinse, repeat because of corona you just had to adapt there wasn't really much to do I couldn't just not do anything."

Macias, who will start at Allen Community College in the fall and plans to major in Business Administration, said she is not surprised by the kindness from the community that supports her school.

"It just proves things I already knew the school and the staff care about me and they just want what's best for me and they want me to give me a good head start to whatever I want to do in the future."