MUSTANG, Oklahoma – A metro high school is taking an unconventional approach to prepare senior students for their next phase in life. Mustang administrators enlisted help from community members to show the teens a wide range of opportunities.

This is the second year that Mustang has hosted its Senior Conference at The Bridge Church, taking around 750 students out of school to get life lessons they do not learn in the classroom. Courses on interviewing, insurance and credit were among the offerings.

Principal Dr. Teresa Wilkerson says, “They think, ‘I can pay for an apartment. I make $500 a month,’ but they don’t have any idea that they have to pay electric and gas and water and renter’s insurance and all of those things.”

The Mustang Chamber of Commerce helped the school bring in volunteer professionals from a variety of industries as well to give the teens some perspective on jobs that spark their interest.

“It gives you kind of a slap in the face of reality,” says Mustang senior Evan Feith. “They have the experience. They can teach you and tell you what it’s really like.”

Senior student Macy Godwin adds, “They have the Air Force here, the military here, the work force is here, employers here and just other opportunities that if college isn’t what you’re looking for, then there are other opportunities.”

If college is what the students are looking for, representatives from 30 different schools also showed up, offering insight on scholarships, financial aid and how to stand out from the crowd.

“Those deadlines are so soon and they sneak up on kids, so being knowledgeable ahead of time will give us such an advantage,” says senior class president Alexis Howry.

This year a group of seniors from Cement High School took a field trip to attend the conference, and Dr. Wilkerson invites other schools to share this kind of knowledge with their students too.

“I think we’re all moving in that direction of hey, times are changing,” she says. “Our kids need different things.”

She hopes the trend continues to grow.