East Idaho students featured in New York Times story

Two recent East Idaho high school graduates have been featured in a New York Times story about kids opting out of college.

Mason Saxton, 18, of Preston, and Idaho Falls’ Ty Harrington, 17, explain why college isn’t currently for them in a June 23 article titled, “Out of High School, into Real Life.”

Mason Saxton of Preston washes a car at his family’s detail shop. Photo: Ruth Fremson

“It wasn’t something I wanted to do,” Saxton told Times reporter Jack Healy.

“Everyone’s got their own route,” Harrington said.

The article features a number of recent high school graduates from across the country who have opted out of immediate postsecondary pursuits. Some of the kids point to rising college tuition. Others say their dreams don’t require a college degree, or that they need to help their families by finding work.

An improving economy also plays a part, Healy writes: “They go to Walmarts and to welding shops, restaurants, salons, hospitals and construction sites, to start careers on the tougher side of the vast economic and cultural divide that is demarcated by a college degree.”

Ty Harrington recently graduated from Hillcrest High School. Photo: Ruth Fremson

Idaho’s 2015 first-year go-on rates slumped below 50 percent. Whereas roughly 69 percent of the nation’s 2015 high school graduates had made an immediate transition to college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.