Contributors: Emma Nani and Maddy Winick
Beginning at 6:30 pm, about 50 seniors will enter the main gym in cap and gown, concluding their high school career.
Eligibility to graduate early (minimum requirements):
By the time a student has reached their senior year, most only need English and civics to graduate. Some may need another math, but it depends on the student and the pathway they took.
For a student to graduate early, they need to have made sure they meet all of their credit requirements by the end of the first semester of their senior year.
“As long as the normal graduation requirements are met as well, such as achieving the 26 credits, and all the other requirements and classes everyone else has to take, finished by the student’s first semester, a student is eligible to graduate,” said Mr. Green, Dean of Students.
In conversations with Leesville staff, here are some pros and cons of graduating early.
Early graduation benefits certain students depending on what path they want to take. For a student who has a good idea of what they want to do, graduating early, with all required credits, of course, wouldn’t be harming anyone and could be helpful depending on what they plan on doing right after high school.
“Mid-year graduation is an excellent option for a student that feels like they are ready to move on and start pursuing other options quicker than, say, fall of next year. It lets them explore the rest of the year–whether that means just taking classes part-time, starting college full time, as a few this year out of the 60 graduates early have done,” says Mr. Green, Dean of Students at Leesville.
Whether colleges find early graduation of a student favorable depends on the college and how competitive it tends to be. Most people that graduate early go to a two year college, while some do go straight to a four year. For students doing a sport for their college, many will graduate high school to start there early and get in practice for the upcoming season the following school year.
“I’d say a lot of the mid-year graduates have been athletes who have gotten scholarships for their sports,” said Green.
When a student graduates early, they are not fully finishing their high school year and could lack extra experience and maturity the second semester of their year may have brought to them. This could cause them to possibly be less prepared for their next steps in life.
“Students may benefit from more time in high school to figure out what they want to do after graduation. It is often the case that one’s direction/plan/interest/etc. becomes clearer in the spring than in the fall of the senior year,” said Mrs. Oxendine, a guidance counselor at Leesville who has a large part in putting together the mid-year graduation ceremony.
Certain colleges may not be in favor of seeing that a student graduated early as they see it as “not finishing out their final high school year of learning.”
Finally, by graduating early, a student may not attend normal senior end-of-year events such as prom, and the bigger, more traditional graduation in June that they are not allowed to participate in.
Class of 2022:
Mauricio Solarte is a senior preparing for his career after graduating. His decision to graduate early stems from wanting to become a real estate agent. “Graduating early [gives] me that time from February to July to have all the time I need to get my higher education started early in a proper manner,” he said.
Solarte plans on getting into the field of real estate to test the waters but is still intending on going to college in the fall. His drive to obtain a real estate license is because he thinks of it as another way for him to support himself in the future.
During the period between graduation and beginning college, Solarte has concerns about how he will occupy his time and how “real estate might not be enough to keep [his] plate full.” He said dealing with the extra time on his hands will cause him to come up with other things to keep himself busy.
Desnicia Toney is another senior graduating early from Leesville. Her plans include traveling, starting a business, and getting her CDL (commercial driver’s license). Toney wants to become a nail tech and pursue launching a nail business. After her business is up and going, she then wants to study and acquire her CDL, which is required to become a truck driver.
Hi! My name is Maddy Winick and I’m a staff writer for The Mycenaean. My favorite things are music, sunsets, and cats, and I like to write.