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Colorado rural students go to college at low rates. But one city resists this trend.

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The Colorado Sun

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More on chalkbeat.org.

Sisters Shell and Ryan Prouet can tell a lot of facts about raising cattle.

Fowler High School graduates know the perfect physique for a bull and how to raise a calf from a bottle. The sisters could try to make a living on their family ranch located between Manzanol and Fowler on the southeastern plains of Colorado.

Instead, their father Dane Pruet Jr. from an early age emphasized college. Throughout his life, he worked hard at the cannery, steel plant and farms, but wanted his daughters to find jobs that would provide them with flexibility and financial stability and not tax their bodies.

“He wants a more comfortable life for us,” said 20-year-old Chalea Prouet, who graduated. Otter College and will attend the University of Colorado Pueblo in the fall.

Sheila Prouet wants to become a veterinarian for large animals, in the field of high growth when the older generation retires. Her younger sister, 18-year-old Ryan Prouet, is studying at Otero College and plans to become a teacher of agricultural sciences, preparing the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Less than half Colorado High School graduates go to college, a rate of about five percentage points below the national average.

The reasons are complex. The college can feel far away, geographically and culturally. Colleges sometimes did not do enough to make the degrees relevant to the interests and experiences of Colorado rural people. The cost could scare away students who are unsure whether college will raise their salaries. College recruiters do not often stop at rural high schools.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.


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