Graduating in December

Seniors share why they chose early graduation as an option

Neema Thomas, Staff Writer

Graduation is on the minds of every senior as they get closer to the end of the school year. While most seniors wait anxiously for their big day at the end of the school year, several seniors opt to graduate early.

“I think it [early graduation] just lets me figure things out for myself and be more independent,” senior Jakiyah Johnson said.

Johnson made the decision early in her high school career to graduate early.

“I decided my sophomore year,” she said. “I’m just ready to do bigger things with my life, and since I had the opportunity, there wasn’t a good enough reason not to take it.” 

Johnson is planning to work full time and do some volunteer work starting in January.

 “I plan on getting a job and start saving money for college and getting volunteer hours so I have a better chance of getting scholarships,” Johnson said.

Another senior also planning to work full-time second semester is Tiffany Pintello. She chose early graduation as a head start to work two jobs and earn money for college in the fall. 

“Life experience is an advantage,” she said. “It’s like a gap year, already graduated, and I’m experiencing life on my own.” 

She said her mom supports her decision to graduate early. 

“My mom is really excited about it,” Pintello said. “She really supports me on it and has been helping me out.” 

Instead of waiting until next fall to start college, senior Alex Orji plans to start next semester.

“I’ll miss being a senior for the second semester–without the weight of football from the fall,” Orji said, “but it’s a sacrifice that I decided I would take.”

Orji has signed to play football with Virginia Tech.

“I decided since I started getting recruited for football to start classes early,” Orji said. “As soon as I graduate, I’ll be getting ready to go there and start classes on the 17th (of January).”

Seniors who chose to graduate early don’t come by the decision easily. In order for some to graduate early, they have to take some of their required classes online through Edgenuity.  Classes through Edgenuity are self-paced and there is no course teacher to explain class content if students have questions.

Senior Brian Okeye is another senior who chose to graduate in December.  He made his decision last year.

“It’s a lot of complicated classes and a complicated schedule but it’s going to be worth it in the end,” Okoye said.

Senior Kendall Delbridge came by the decision last minute.

“I was initially signed up for the ICON Virtual School,” she said. “But then before this school year started, they said that it was no longer an option, and I was dead-set on doing online.”

Delbridge spoke to her counselor about alternatives and early graduation was an option. She is taking her second semester classes online through Edgenuity this semester so she can graduate early.  She said she is working full-time next semester to help pay for college.

“My advice would be to not take things so seriously. There are so many times where I was worried about one test grade not being as satisfactory,” Delbridge said. “So take it easy and enjoy the years as they are there with you.”