PATH: Cross Creek seniors who enlisted in the military include Justin Meadows, Marine Corps; Deandre Dean, Army; and Michael Lockhart and Anthony Rowan, Navy.
WHY THEY CHOSE THEIR PATHS: All had family members in the military and followed in their footsteps.
"I'm basically an Army brat, and I grew up around Army ways," Deandre said. His dad was in the Army, and grandfather was in the Navy.
THEIR SPECIFIC DUTIES DIFFER: Anthony will specialize in learning how to build electronics, eventually missiles; Michael aspires to be a Navy SEAL; Deandre will work with computers; and Justin will be a rifleman for the infantry.
MILITARY WASN'T THE ONLY PATH THEY CONSIDERED: Deandre considered mechanic school, and Justin thought about opening a nursery and working in horticulture.
"I love cars," Deandre said. "But I'd rather travel the world."
FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE, BUT STAY AT HOME
HER PATH: The Greenbrier High School senior will attend Augusta State University
WHY THIS path: Amanda, who will be a pre-nursing major at Augusta State, will live at home at least the first year, with hopes of transferring to the Medical College of Georgia for nursing school.
"It made sense to stay in Augusta."
She always knew she would pursue higher education -- it was the way she was raised. She said: "Once you graduate, you go to college."
HER ADVICE: Keep your options open. She also applied to Georgia Southern University and Kennesaw State University, but the best decision for her was to stay in Augusta instead of splitting up her college years in two different places.
Teen Board member John Klement contributed to this article.
OUT-OF-STATE COLLEGE VIA THE MILITARY
PATH: The Cross Creek senior will attend Lincoln University in Missouri through an Army scholarship.
WHY THIS path: "It's a way to college," he said, but he also wanted to join the Army.
He'll be involved in the ROTC program and graduate college as an officer. He signed up for an eight-year commitment.
"I do think someone should have a form or way to serve our country," he said.
Lincoln University offers pre-law, political science and criminal justice programs, and the Army has military police opportunities, two aspects that fit his possible future careers in law enforcement or law.
"It gives you experience to do that sort of job in the military," he said.
HIS ADVICE: Chris advises underclassmen to take awhile to think about it. For the military, it's a commitment they should be sure about.
INTO THE ARTS
PATH: The Greenbrier High School junior plans to pursue his Broadway dreams in New York City after high school and will put those plans into motion with a summer program to teach him the ins and outs of auditioning, agents and working in show business.
WHY HE CHOSE HIS PATH: "This is my prime time as a dancer. I have everything I need to dance in New York. College won't help with that. If, after a couple of years, New York doesn't work out, there's always college. An old person can go to college, and an old person can't dance," he said.
Blake realizes it's going to be hard and is nervous about everything "working out as planned," so he is planning as much as possible.
-- Michael Ryan, Teen Board member
Reach Sarah Day Owen at (706) 823-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR OWN PATH
Judy Kennedy, the graduation coach for Cross Creek High School, gives tips for how to decide what path is right for you.
- Consider options: Higher education, military or work
- Scholarships can be determinants in which route you decide to go. Don't let heavy writing assignments deter you. She advises thinking of each page of a scholarship essay as $100 to inspire you.
- "It's all about you." It doesn't matter what or where your friends decide on for post-high school plans. You'll have to enter the working world on your own.
- Don't pick something based on money, though you should strive to find something that will support you in the lifestyle to which you're accustomed.
- Take your personality into account in picking a career.