Students choose to graduate early due to the less-than-ideal school year

On+Oct.+13%2C+Vanessa+Bezman+writes+definitions+of+how+to+describe+and+talk+to+family+and+introduce+them+to+other+people+in+French.+In+order+to+graduate+this+June%2C+Bezman+works+on+completing+her+language+requirements+by+passing+her+French+class.+Photo+by+Ashley+Granados

On Oct. 13, Vanessa Bezman writes definitions of how to describe and talk to family and introduce them to other people in French. In order to graduate this June, Bezman works on completing her language requirements by passing her French class. Photo by Ashley Granados

With an unexpected and unusual year, there has been an increase of early graduation request from students. With seniors considering graduating a semester early and even juniors considering graduating a year early, counselors are receiving inquiries to see what requirements need to be met for early graduation and discuss what the next step should be for those students. 

Senior Sydney Williams plans to take this unexpected year as an opportunity to get an early start on her goals.

“I feel really excited about graduating early because I get a head start on what I am going to do for the rest of my life. However, if COVID hadn’t prevented a normal senior year including sports games and all of the other senior festivities I would be a lot more bummed out,” Williams said.

Williams admits this choice would have been more difficult to make if COVID had not gotten in the way of her senior year, but due to the current pandemic preventing many high school activities, Williams has decided to get a head start on her education with less at stake. Counselor Mr. Mac Blate believes the unusual school year and new system may play a role for students to make this kind of decision. 

“There has been an increase in students requesting to graduate early because students are now able to complete senior English and senior gov/econ in one semester. It’s usually uncommon [to get early graduation requests from students]. But this year we think we’re going to see one of the largest early graduating classes in this school’s history,” Blate said.

Blate explains the recent increase of students graduating early could have to do with students taking advantage of this new 4×4 schedule. Vanessa Bezman decided to take advantage of the 4×4 schedule and graduate early to get a head start on her education and dreams. 

“I want to get ahead in college and hopefully start a business early. [I plan to] head to Sierra College for a business major,” Bezman said.

Bezman is prepared to take on her future and take the next step towards her dreams as she plans on graduating an entire year early. She also plans on taking advantage of the two years free tuition offered at Sierra College for her business major. Blate, the counselor in charge of coordinating with the local community college, explains what needs to be done in order for students to graduate early.

In order [for juniors to graduate a year early], a student would need to meet all graduation requirements and take a night class that’s online. The maximum number of credits a student can earn after three years at Whitney would be 240, but they need 250, so that’s why they need that night class,”

— Mr Mac Blate

“In general, most seniors need to complete senior English and senior gov/econ to be able to graduate and so they need 10 credits in both of those classes. Typically in the past they would get five credits of senior English spring of their junior year and then five in the fall of their senior year and both gov and econ their senior year but now that we’re in block schedule, students can actually complete all 10 senior English and all 10 senior gov/econ in just one semester. In order [for juniors to graduate a year early], a student would need to meet all graduation requirements and take a night class that’s online. The maximum number of credits a student can earn after three years at Whitney would be 240, but they need 250; so that’s why they need that night class,” Blate said.

Not all students are planning to graduate early, but Jacob Bustamante offers advice to those who are taking this option into consideration.

Bustamante said, “I would tell a person that is considering graduating early to be aware of all the things that they will miss during their senior year. But graduating early is a great opportunity to know what kind of person they want to be in the future.” 

By ASHLEY GRANADOS