Semester graduates share post high school plans

Every year, seniors at Newton High School have the opportunity to decide what they want their final year of high school to look like. They may choose to take dual credit courses, add in a free period or drop seminar for the second semester. The students even have the chance to decide when they want to graduate. The seniors choosing to graduate early are able to adjust their schedules and their classes to get all of their credits before graduation at the semester’s end.

Graduating at semester requires seniors to put extra planning into their schedules. While other students are building their schedules for the next year in the spring, the students graduating at semester have to take extra time to meet with their counselors and make their schedule work so they will be eligible for graduating with the number of credits required.

“[Graduating at semester] wasn’t really that hard,” senior Pierce Kuhn said. “Adding up my credits and planning them out beforehand was probably the most difficult part.”

At NHS, it is a requirement to acquire four full English credits before students can graduate. This means that the students wanting to graduate early have to adjust to get all of their credits, otherwise they will not be eligible for early graduation. For many, this means starting to take some of their senior classes in the summer before everyone else starts school.

“I knew I wanted to take dual enrollment classes to get some college classes out of the way so I ended up taking English Comp 1 over the summer to make sure I have four years of English completed by December,” senior Cadence Altum said.

According to the AmericanAcademy, there are many benefits to graduating high school early. Some of the benefits include getting an early start on your future, whether that be a career or attending college, a chance to challenge yourself academically and students get the opportunity to gain more independence and responsibility.

“I decided to graduate this semester because I have work opportunities in Wichita and I want to further my education that I would have to travel for,” Altum said. “I am looking forward to getting to meet new people in college, which I will start in January, and learning new things from my job. I also am looking forward to a little bit more free time than normal.”

Early graduation may not be the path for everyone. Kuhn says that although it can be a beneficial experience, you have to be aware that you are going to miss a lot in the second semester. However, Altum has a different view, encouraging students to “go for it.”

“I think if you have great opportunities and feel like it’s something that would benefit you, I would say go for it. It has been a great experience and will help you out in the long run,” Altum said.