Bleak future prospects force LDHS graduates to leave hometown

Bleak future prospects force LDHS graduates to leave hometown

Liz Haigler, Co-Editor

Laurens County has very little for teenagers to do, other than activities such as eating at Señor Garcia Mexican Restaurant, going to kill time at the local Walmart or driving around the small county. Because of the lack of things to do, many LDHS students do not want to come back to live in Laurens after they graduate because the lack of social activities will translate into a lack of entertainment and job opportunities for them as adults. 

Senior Ximena Amaro-Flores was voted the female “Most Likely to Leave Laurens and Never Come Back” in this year’s 55er Senior Superlatives. 

“I just think it’s really boring here. There’s no culture, and I’m all about the world. I would like to get out there and just explore new places,” she said. Amaro-Flores says her family would be the only reason that she would stay in Laurens after high school graduation. 

Some students, such as senior AudreyAnna Davenport, are even graduating a full year early to get away from Laurens.

 “The people and the roads are what I dislike the most about Laurens,” Davenport said. Without hesitation, she said that there is nothing that would keep her in Laurens after graduation. 

The male “Most Likely to Leave Laurens and Never Come Back” is senior Nick Hill. 

“I don’t like Laurens because it has nothing good to offer, and you can’t grow in Laurens,” Hill said. 

“Laurens doesn’t have anything for people that want to go into the arts, pharmacy or that want to go into anything other than jobs that you can get with a two-year degree,” he said. Hill remarked that the town would “need a whole 180” to keep him in Laurens after graduation. Hill plans to attend the University of South Carolina to study pharmaceutical sciences. 

“It’s not that I can’t practice pharmacy within Laurens; it’s that I don’t feel that I can go as far as I’d like to in pharmacy,” Hill said. 

“After high school-wise, there’s nothing here that anyone that has earned a four-year degree can really use to their benefit,” Hill said. “I think now, Laurens has reached a plateau in businesses and things that it could offer.”

According to job-search site Indeed.com, the majority of jobs within 25 miles of Laurens County are in retail or food service. Out of the 15 local jobs displayed on the website’s first page, all of the jobs are in fast-food restaurants, DoorDash, grocery stores, Walmart Distribution warehouses, local manufacturing companies or data entry. None of the jobs posted on the first page requires any education beyond a high school diploma. The first job that requires a degree in a professional field is a job for a tutor at Thornwell, which prefers certified teachers or college graduates but will accept college students, and the position is posted on page five of the Indeed website.  

With the lack of job opportunities outside of the service industry in Laurens, students tend to leave the county and not return. People look for jobs that they can succeed in with a college degree so that they may work alongside others with college degrees. Though Laurens is a great place to raise children and start a family, the county lacks opportunities for people to advance in their careers.