Taking the Early Out

Some students seek early graduation option

For many generations, students have gone through four years of high school before graduating and moving on into the real world.

Now, students have an opportunity to leave school early, some as early as the end of their junior year.

In order for a student to graduate early, all requirements for the diploma the student is pursuing must be met. All required classes must be completed and passed to receive credit towards the diploma.

“I have a lot of students having to tackle government, economics and English to make sure that they have the required credits,” said guidance counselor Brandon Crowder.

Students who graduate early could be eligible to earn a scholarship for doing so.

The Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship is set up by the State of Indiana to help any student graduating early. It pays $4,000 towards any unpaid college tuition and fees, and can be used at any eligible Indiana college recognized by the Division of Student Financial Aid.

But for students who plan on taking advantage of this scholarship, there is an alternative here at PHS.

“Students could easily earn the same amount of money, and even more, for college through our dual credit and college credit courses,” said Crowder.

For students who already have a job after graduation, or those who plan on applying to college, early graduation provides a springboard to jump into the real world.

But for those who are still undecided about graduation, there are other factors to consider.

“Students who graduate early would miss out on the social experience that comes in the senior year,” said Principal Todd Hitchcock.

Students may be excited about getting out of high school as early, but for some the impact may not be as obvious.

“I think there’s a major downside to it, because students have to start real life sooner,” said government and economics teacher Scott Gudorf.

Ultimately, it depends on the situation that students are facing. Some may find comfort in staying an extra semester or year to decide on their future, while others may be ready to jump straight into the workforce.

Story by Ron Compton