Junior and Viewpoints writer Sam Mattern-Parkes is pictured above with facts regarding his stance on early graduation. Mattern-Parkes wants to graduate early and takes several AP classes. Graphic by Valeria Garcia-Pozo.
Graduating early should be one of the options available to high school students. 2017 Clarke Central High School alumna Adrienne Lumpkin was prepared academically and mentally for college by her junior year. Despite the obstacles, she graduated early.
Early graduation should be an option for high school students.
Currently, students who wish to graduate from a Clarke County School District high school must get approval by the principal and superintendent to waive the “minimum of 8 semesters of study,” the CCSD Program of Studies requires.
High school can only go so far.
Class pathways run out, the advanced and Advanced Placement level classes can still be easy or too focused on tests, and some students are prepared for college before their senior year.
AP classes and college classes are not the same. In college, professors have more freedom and more expertise in their fields, course subject matter is not dictated by AP tests, and classmates are more mature.
Of course there is dual-enrollment offered by CCHS and many other high schools across the country. Students can enroll in classes at nearby post-secondary institutions and earn college credit while still in high school.
At face value it seems a good alternative, and for many students, it is. But if dual-enrollment is seen as a good idea, why is graduating early not?
There are some benefits to dual-enrollment. It’s free, it can be part-time, and it is outside the high school. However, some students may not want to.
2017 Clarke Central High School alumna Adrienne Lumpkin graduated early without dual-enrolling because she wanted to have a normal senior year, and made the right choice graduating early because she found more people with mindset similar to hers.
“Once you get to college, you see that everybody has the same mindset as you do. They’re serious about school, they know what they want to do in life, and they’re focused,” Lumpkin said. “Being in a group, a huge group of people, a huge university and having that same mindset is very refreshing.”
There are many options available to high school students, and that is a good thing. Early graduation should be one of them. To most people, staying the full four years in high school is the right option, but for others, it just isn’t.
To disallow it is naive. It assumes that the system knows what is best for everyone. Simply leaving the option open will let students help themselves.
Click here to read the opposing article by Aneesa Conine-Nakano.