Checking one little box changed this graduate’s future

May 21, 2024 About Us

Graduations are a big deal to us at Granite Edvance. Seeing a new wave of graduates get their diplomas each year keeps us focused on our mission of supporting students in discovering and achieving their future goals.  For a few of us, graduation was a really big deal this year, as we watched our own children walk across the stage and reflected on their journeys.  

 As it happens, Granite Edvance played an important role in that journey for Sarah Earle’s daughter Laura, long before Sarah came to work here as assistant vice president of communications. Here’s the story, in Sarah’s words:  

 Four years ago, like pretty much everyone else on the planet, my daughter Laura and I learned that nothing is certain, that even the most rock-solid traditions can be toppled. First, her big class trip was cancelled. Next, her senior year abruptly ended, and she finished out her high school career in her bedroom. Prom. Awards night. Spring band concert. Cancelled. Cancelled. Cancelled.  

 All the while, schools around the state were wrestling with what to do about graduation. Thanks to some ingenuity and community generosity, Laura’s high school was able to hold a live graduation ceremony, albeit a weird one, at the NH Motor Speedway. We laugh recalling it now, but it still hurts a little, too.  

While the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking its misfortunes, something fortuitous was also at play. In the fall of her senior year, Laura had attended a college application event (now known as ApplyNH) at her school run by none other than the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) Network – now Granite Edvance. She’d had no intention of applying to an in-state school, but with application fees waived for the day and the application in front of her nose, she figured “what the heck” and applied to the University of New Hampshire. On a further whim, she checked the box beside “economics” as her intended major, giving it about as much thought as she gave to the choices in the lunch line.  

 On Sunday, Laura graduated from UNH with a degree in analytical economics. As fate would have it, state school felt like a good option as the world closed in on her in 2020. And after her first economics class, she never looked back.  

 Now, the world is opening up for her again. This fall, Laura heads to Atlanta to start a job as a supply chain analyst for Graphic Packaging International.  

Last year, while Laura was rounding out her junior year, I started working at Granite Edvance. I truly love being part of an organization that supports young people as they figure out what’s next. We can never predict what life will throw at them, but we can equip them to find a way through the challenges and achieve their goals.  

Congratulations, New Hampshire graduates!

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