Only 60 percent of SMMUSD seniors applied for financial aid. (File photo)

One of Santa Monica High School’s two outgoing valedictorians, Nicholas Charchut, is scheduled to start classes soon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The other, David Lin, is preparing to study at the California Institute of Technology.

Former Santa Monica-Malibu students will indeed represent the school district at prestigious colleges and universities across the country when the 2015-2016 school year begins.

More than 850 seniors at three SMMUSD campuses took part in graduation ceremonies last month, with Samohi and Malibu High honoring students at formal ceremonies on their respective campuses and Olympic High School celebrating the achievements of its graduates at a local hotel.

“While it is hard to say goodbye to our graduates,” Superintendent Sandra Lyon said in a statement, “we are confident that our students will continue to pursue meaningful and innovative college and career paths.”

Where they’re all headed is an exercise in educational geography.

Bye, Samohi

Of the 678 graduates from Samohi, close to 100 will attend schools in the California State University system, 97 will be enrolled at University of California campuses and over 150 plan to take classes at Santa Monica College in the fall, according to the district.

Eight new SMMUSD alumni will be found at Ivy League schools, with three heading to Brown University, two on their way to the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, respectively, and one starting at Princeton University.

Samohi graduation rates have improved in recent years, according to data from the school’s most recent annual accountability report card.

The graduation rate was 90.78 percent during the 2010-2011 academic year, rose to 92.77 the next year and climbed to 96.45 the year after that, a figure that compares favorably to district-wide (93.47) and state (80.44) numbers.

The high school’s dropout rate has declined over the same period, falling from 7.10 percent in 2010-2011 to 2.60 two years later. That’s better than 3.50 and 11.40, the respective district and state dropout percentages in 2012-13.

Pursuit of the arts

Local students who excelled in arts programs will pursue their passions at the collegiate level, according to records compiled by the district’s advisory committee on visual and performing arts.

SMMUSD students have been accepted as music majors for 2015-2016 at Berklee College of Music, Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Tulane University, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and University of Miami.

Recent district graduates have been accepted as theater majors for 2015-2016 at Azusa Pacific University, Lewis and Clark College and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.

District students have been accepted as art or design majors at the Art Center College of Design, California College of Art, Cornish College of the Arts, Kansas City Art Institute, Maryland Institute College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, jeff@www.smdp.com or on Twitter.

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