‘Just the Beginning of my Success!’

'Just the Beginning of my Success!'

Aymet Garcia, Author

As a young student you always want to do what’s best for you. All the work you do is towards graduation, a symbol of your success and hard work. Growing up, you know that you have to wait for the chance to receive that. These students had the opportunity to speed that process up— and speed it up they did.

This year more than ever before, seniors have graduated by the end of the first semester. Wanting to know why, I asked Jason Anthony Thornton and Kendra Anne Hocket some questions about their decision.

What are some good reasons to graduate early?
Jason: “I think a good reason to graduate early is that you get more time to focus on your hobbies and future”.
Kendra: ”Some good reasons to graduate early are that you can take college classes right out of high school to get a head start, and you have more time to understand and find out what you want to do with your future. Given these good reasons, it is up to you whether or not you are ready for this decision. With the good comes the bad; the only bad thing that I have seen is that once you are out of high school you are pretty much a complete adult– with this comes responsibility and new tasks and it can be stressful but it can be done”.

Did you know that’s what you wanted ?
Jason: “I knew that’s what I wanted because now I can have more time to plan ahead on what I want to do with my life”.
Kendra: “I never expected to graduate early. If anything, it was a quick decision on my part. I figured that I was going to finish the school year with everyone else. But, I weighed out my options and I did what was best for me”.

Do you think graduating early will affect your scholarship eligibility?
Jason: “I don’t think graduating early will affect… scholarship eligibility because you still have to pass all the required classes like everyone else”.
Kendra: “l don’t believe that graduating early affects any scholarship eligibility. There are plenty of opportunities for scholarships”.

How do you handle the stress and pressure of graduating early?

Jason: “I handled the stress and pressure by keeping myself calm and completing all of the assignments on time”.
Kendra: “Graduating early really didn’t come with any stress or pressure. I would say the only stress and pressure that I had was deciding whether or not it was a good idea to do it. I believe that it was because it gave me the opportunity to go straight into taking college classes. The stress that I had was going back and forth between graduating early and not graduating early. However, I am happy with my decision”.

Did you talk to a counselor?

Kendra: “I was keeping in touch with my counselor as well as Karla Lara practically every week, trying to understand what the next steps were for early graduation/college classes at Allan Hancock. It was a long battle. But, persistence is key when you want something”.

Are you proud of graduating early?
Jason: “I am proud of graduating early because I no longer have to worry about school”.
Kendra: “I am very proud about graduating early. It was not a mistake on my part. Although I didn’t get the graduation that I hoped for, I strongly believe that I was ready for the next step in my life. I recommend graduating early as long as you have all of your credit for high school, and are ready for life after high school”.

As you can see, these students really wanted the freedom that comes with graduation. But what about their process? Why did they specifically get to graduate early and what did they have to do to get there? Lompoc High School counselor Lana Huyck says:

“When a student wants to graduate early, they must make an appointment with their counselor to discuss their options. In a normal year, we usually only have a couple of students graduate a year early, meaning that they only did 3 years of high school. Once in a while, we have someone that graduates at the end of the semester.

This year was different due to having block scheduling in the Fall and Spring. Due to that, students that only needed a couple of classes to be done could take those in the Fall and finish in January. We had 51 seniors take advantage of that this year, after their school counselor met with them to discuss their classes and goals after high school. Many wanted to finish early so they could start college sooner, enlist in the military, or just work.”

The students in this article are 2 out of 51 that had the ability to graduate early. They went through the process and took advantage of the system because they wanted more opportunities in their life. Not just the students here, but all of the seniors that graduated early yearned for a better grasp of their situation– be it for familial, work, or self-fulfillment reasons. Thanks to that drive, they’re able to get a head start and focus on their future.
In the end, the seniors’ efforts were fully realized due to their specific situation and drive. Even so, what the seniors were capable of isn’t necessarily going to be available for the coming years. As Huyck says: “When we are back to our normal 7 period a day schedule, students will not have the same option that all of the seniors had this year. This doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, it just means it will take a little more work to finish early. One way that students are able to finish early, is by taking College Now elective courses through Allan Hancock College, and doubling up on core classes in their school day. We also want to make sure that you are able to handle taking that many courses, are passing all of your classes, and that you have a plan for graduating early”.