By Tyler Leeds • The Bulletin

Class of 2014 graduates from Bend-La Pine Schools will be heading as far away as Europe and staying as close as Awbrey Butte for college, with the majority of students making plans to remain on the West Coast for their post-secondary years.

The information provided to The Bulletin is not final — students can change their minds, get off a wait list or decide a gap year is in order. Once the dust does finally settle, Summit High Principal Alice DeWittie thinks it may be a record year for the school, with early estimates putting the number of students moving on to college at nearly 86 percent.

While DeWittie said she was proud of her students heading to top schools — including Stanford University, Harvard University and Wellesley College — she said she was happier that students made the right choices for them.

“Yes, we had some kids heading off to impressive colleges, but more importantly, we had kids going off to colleges that fit them, places they earned and that will move them forward,” DeWittie said.

The key to this, DeWittie noted, is encouraging students to select schools wisely. With the help of counselors and parent volunteers, students were encouraged to apply to a “stretch” school, a “fall back,” and schools that fell somewhere in the middle.

Despite the success, DeWittie said she actually encourages this year’s crop of seniors to “focus on GPA less.”

“Earning scholarships and learning how to navigate life comes from things outside of that academic arena, too,” she said. “Volunteering is huge. Are you the type of person who gives back? That matters. And colleges can sniff a phony from a mile away. If you’ve been volunteering for years, that can open doors and make you a better person.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2160,