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180 Days Missing: MMRHS’s record number of graduating juniors and its impact on future education

Rachel Zinberg

Rachel Zinberg

Many students opt to not graduate early, due to an increase of pressure between cramming extra classes, shorter time for SAT and ACT preparations, and initiating the college admissions process one year early.

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By Rachel Zinberg, Maisie Forland, and Audrey Esperat

  GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – According to several members of the MMRHS guidance staff, this year’s class of 2016 has the most early graduating juniors to date. This option allows students access to facilities and programs the school is unable to provide, giving those with career plans in mind a more direct focus of study before college. Mrs. Young, principal of Monument Mountain, said that in prior years students were often ready to leave before their four years were complete. Reasons for early graduation vary between students, but a trend was noticed when, “some students would ‘wander’ senior year, and were ready to go. We were holding them back,” she stated during our interview. When asked to profile a typical early graduate, Sean Flynn, a guidance counselor for the high school, stated that the average early graduate has relatively high grades and accomplishments in school. He said that they “often have good relationships with teachers, and students are independent and engaging in class work.” In order to graduate, students must acquire 23.5 credits to obtain their diploma. As a result, many students opt to not graduate, due to an increase of pressure between cramming extra classes, shorter time for SAT and ACT preparations, and initiating the college admissions process one year early. However, students seeking experience from the outside world often choose to graduate early, in order to focus on more direct fields of study that they may want to pursue further in life. If a student is passionate about a career that the school cannot provide support for (eg. horse racing, gymnastics), it may be best for them to receive experience from recreational centers and institutions outside of Monument. Mr. Flynn believes “Every class has a unique culture. This year’s juniors are very independent and mature.” As a result, the early graduation option is picked by students who wish to leave their small towns, and get experience from the outside world. Some students also choose to work for the gap year, allowing them to save up money before college. Klay Paspuletti, who considered early graduation, simply replied, ¨I hate this place.” Students wishing to leave high school early out of whim is not recommended by Mrs. Young. “It doesn’t matter what your plan is, or your career path, just as long as it’s rational.” However, those who do choose to stay senior year often hold a personal connection to the school, family, and friends in the area. “I didn’t graduate early, because I wanted to graduate with the friends I grew up with,” stated Lily Abrahams, a senior at Monument. While many students find the newfound freedom of early graduation exciting, students like Lily find graduating and attending prom with her peers all part of the “high school experience.”

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Celebrating the Spirit and News of Monument Mountain
180 Days Missing: MMRHS’s record number of graduating juniors and its impact on future education