Garden City's Will Pracht carrying on family tradition

For the Pracht family, attending Fort Hays State University is a family affair.

Willis Pracht has graduated from FHSU twice -- once in 1974 with a B.S. in elementary education and again in 1985 with a M.S. in education administration. His wife, Connie, also earned her M.S. in education administration from FHSU, graduating in 1998.

Now the Prachts' son, Will, is a senior at their alma mater.

But rather than follow in the elementary education-directed footsteps of his mother, principal of Florence Wilson Elementary School, and his father, principal of Garfield Elementary School, Will is working towards a B.S. in information networking and telecommunications with an emphasis in Web development.

"Once I mentioned Fort Hays, I wasn't allowed to change my mind," he said.

Will came to FHSU in 2003 after graduating from Garden City High School. While a high school student, he took 28 credit hours from Garden City Community College for concurrent credit. Those credit hours included Microsoft Certified Systems Engineering, U.S. Government, Composition I and Cisco Networking Academy I.

"I considered other schools but came to Fort Hays because of the networking program," Will said. "I started in networking because I thought it was cool, but decided to switch to Web development because I've done it for a long time and I know a lot about it."

He appreciates the small class size at FHSU.

"It's nice to have one-on-one interaction with my professors," he said. "The classes are smaller, so they're more hands-on. I've had some really good professors."

He also enjoys the variety of class options offered in the INT department.

"Before, I thought I knew a lot," he said. "But then I realized I don't know everything."

To further supplement his classroom education, Will works part-time in the Office of University Relations as a student Web developer.

"My job helps me learn things about my major that my classes don't offer," he said.

Will isn't exactly sure what he wants to do after graduating from FHSU, but "I want to go to a big city and get a high-paying job, do very little work and buy a lot of stuff with the money I'll make," he said with a grin.

For now, he'll focus on enjoying his senior year at FHSU, meeting new people and making new friends.

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