Is Atlantic in Your Future?

Some students plan on leaving town after graduation, while others would like to live and work in the community.


Makynzie Steffens

Junior Lia Lillard examines a college pamphlet. After graduation, some students will move away from Atlantic, while others will plant their roots in town.

Drew Engler, Staff Writer

Atlantic has been going through a population decline in the past decade. According to the United States Census Bureau, Atlantic’s estimated population in 2017 was 6,689 people. The reason for this population decline is still vague. Some students at AHS visualize themselves living in Atlantic, while others would rather get out of town right after they graduate. The opinions of the students of AHS are varied. 

Many students at AHS want to move over to a big city rather than stay in Atlantic. This is because they believe there are more opportunities and activities to do in a big city, such as Omaha or Des Moines. On an @AHSneedle Twitter poll, 37.1 percent of the 35 people who voted said they wish to reside in an urban area.

One of the students who wants to move out of Atlantic is freshman April Vanderholm. She said small towns can be nice for certain people, but there are more things to do in a big city. Vanderholm said she would consider staying in Atlantic if there was a mall nearby. 

Another student who wants to move out of Atlantic, sophomore Brynna Ray, has different reasons for wanting to leave town. She would prefer to get out of Atlantic because she has an interest in traveling. Ray said the winters in Iowa are very cold and she prefers warm weather. 

Even though some people aren’t fond of the small-community lifestyle, there are others that would prefer to stay in Atlantic. On the Twitter poll, 17.1 percent reported they will be staying in Atlantic. A separate 25.7 percent selected they would like to live in a small town, or on a farm. Freshman Jayden Proehl said he will for sure come back to Atlantic after he graduates. A lot of his friends live in town, which sways him to stay in Atlantic, rather than to move to a bigger city. He said the people of Atlantic are very easy to get to know and would recommend other people move here for the friendly community. His dream job is to become a chiropractor in Atlantic. Proehl would like to start his career in a small community. 

The small businesses really wrap up the community.

— Alex Keiser

Freshman Alex Keiser moved to town from Griswold, a smaller community of 963 people, according to the United States Census Bureau. Keiser said there are many reasons to stay in Atlantic, though he doesn’t plan to. “The people of Atlantic are very friendly, and the small businesses really wrap up the community,” Keiser said. His main reason for leaving the town is he believes there are better opportunities for jobs in bigger cities. 

Emma Bireline, an English teacher at AHS, hosts a club called Shift ATL, whose goal is to get more teenagers involved in the small-town community of Atlantic. The club just recently got their first board member, junior Olivia Engler. Engler is currently creating a forum for other students if they are interested in joining Shift ATL’s cause. 

Bireline has always loved the sense of community in smaller towns that most big cities don’t seem to have. She said Atlantic has a lot of opportunities for the youth of the whole town. Examples of this include Jazzercise and the YMCA, which makes Atlantic a very fit community. Bireline also commented on the academic opportunities students of AHS are able to partake in. Pupils can attend college classes in town and online for dual credit, as well as learn a foreign language. Those are just some of the hundreds of opportunities students are given in Atlantic. 

Bireline believes teenagers should be more involved in the community and stay away from some of Atlantic’s leading problems: drug-use and crime. She believes Atlantic should have more things for teenagers to do. She hopes Shift ATL will be able to help bridge the gap between teenagers who are unsure of their future surroundings and long-time Atlantic residents.

Some students see Atlantic as their future home, while others are looking elsewhere. The future and growth of the town is the hands of a new generation.