Students pay price to graduate early

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By Vanessa Landa

Graduating is one of the many things students look forward to when entering their senior year. Some students, however, manage to get ahead and graduate early.

There are many reasons why a student decides to graduate early.

“There are multiple reasons I decided to graduate early, but the main reason was that my mom is getting sick and I really wanted to be able to be with her,” said Samantha Lange, Div. 054. “I looked at this as a really great opportunity to spend time with her. I also really needed time to have a full time job so that I can raise enough money to go on my second trip to Africa this summer.”

“I was supposed to graduate in June 2011 but decided to graduate a year earlier because I could,” said Nicole Palacios, Div. 028. “Also, I would be sixteen when I graduate; and when I go to college and then finish, I could start my career earlier than the normal age.”

According to guidance counselor Ms. Coorlas, there are two ways students can graduate early. One is for a student to attend a school with an International Baccalaureate program and earn credit for high school courses during their 7th and 8th grade. The other way is by attending summer school.

“When a student is determined to graduate early, he or she comes in and then talks to us,” said Coorlas. “With parent approval, we then look at the classes that they can take over the summer in order to fit in the requirements.”

“I was in Taft [during 7th and 8th grade], and took some high school classes there,” said Palacios. “I earned credits so that once I got to Lane I didn’t have to take those courses again.”

“When I made my decision to graduate early junior year, I went in to talk to my guidance counselor,” said Lange. “We found what classes I would need to sign up for senior year, and what extra classes I would have to take.”

Not all of those who have the opportunity to graduate early take it.

“I could have graduated last year, but I’m going to graduate with my class of 2012,” said Joseph Lee, Div. 168. “I don’t want to graduate early because I want to stay with my friends.”

There are some disadvantages to graduating early.

“Since I’m graduating at the end of first semester, I won’t be able to participate in fun senior activities during the second half of the year and I won’t be able to walk at Graduation,” said Lange. “You need to be okay with missing those things. I knew that none of those things were nearly as important to me and I really don’t mind missing them.”

Graduating early isn’t something that is really recommended. Both Coorlas and school registrar Ms. Hanly agree that when students graduate early, they are rarely prepared to go into college. According to Hanly, only one or two students graduate early each year.

“People have told me that I’m too young to go to college or I still need to get the high school experience,” said Palacios. “If your maturity level and age is an issue for you then don’t do it, but honestly, for me, people can’t really tell that I’m that much younger. Don’t let your age stop you from doing anything.”

“I don’t recommend graduating early,” said Lange. “The high school experience is a great one and everyone should experience all four years, but sometimes that isn’t the case for everyone, and it wasn’t for me.”

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