Alumni Panels Share Wisdom With Seniors

All seniors at Dunbar participated in the event through their English classes.

Wendy Turner
Jon Ford, a Dunbar graduate from 2001, works as a business manager at Lexmark.

On May 10, Dunbar alumni returned, giving advice to senior English students for the first annual Dunbar Alumni Panel. The event was held in the library, organized by senior English teacher Monica Cole. Some of the alumni included graduates of ’01, ’09 and ’16. Though the members of the panel changed between blocks, the panel experience will reach each senior at Dunbar.

“I think it’s important that seniors hear a real world perspective from people that have walked in their shoes,” said Cole. “It’s a valuable experience. I’m confident that for as long as we teach seniors this is an experience they need to have.”

Students wrote questions on post-it notes, and eventually were brave enough to ask panel members directly. Some of the questions included life in between college and professional life, making friends on a new campus and possible unseen expenses.

“Freshman year is the basis of college, so make sure you stay focused,” said Chinni Suryadevara, a 2015 graduate.

Wendy Turner
Mike Durborow (’08), Pam Stravitz (’15) and Leslie Davis (’09) sat on the alumni panel on May 10.

Some of the suggestions were more realistic, appealing to the philosophy of many eighteen year olds.

“Stop trying to rush through high school and college and take your time to figure out what you want to do,” Mike Durborow, who graduated from Dunbar in 2008.

Many alumni look back at this transitioning time between high school and the rest of their life and remind students that being kind gets you much farther in life than a senior usually assumes, such as Hannah Workman, who graduated in 2007 and now teaches in the Fayette County School system.

“I enjoy listening to Hannah because she made [the panel] relatable,” said senior Hope Vain. “Many times we don’t realize that our actions speak louder than words.

According to those who gave their time on the panel, many Dunbar alumni shared information they said they wish they had known senior year, and sharing that wisdom is the best graduation gift they can give the current seniors.