Three-year grads cut out 1,000 school hours

Jackson Davis

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Students will spend about 1,000 hours a year in school. 

For juniors graduating early, they knock their high school number down to 3,000 hours. 

“I just didn’t want to be at school any longer than I wanted to, and I knew I was smart enough to get out as soon as possible. So when they told me I could graduate early, I said yes,” junior Lucas Rico said. 

Students who graduate early are more likely to get a college degree before students who graduate high school after four years, according to a study by The Hechinger Report. 

It also allows students to start their careers earlier. 

“I’m in the Butler academies now, so I’ll graduate in three years with my associate’s (degree),” junior Olivia Brackeen said. “You can get a start on your education faster and a much faster start on your career.” 

Most students who graduate early cite entering the workforce faster as an advantage.

“There are benefits. I didn’t want to go into a profession where I sit at a desk all day,” Rico said. “I don’t want to stay and take classes I didn’t need to take because I’m going to Eric Fisher (Academy). Those classes don’t help me enter my pathway.”

Some they feel like high school has nothing left to offer them. 

“I just like being challenged academically, and I felt like graduating early was a great way to do that,” Brackeen said. 

Junior John Sterling added: “School’s just a lot of work, and I figured I would skip the semester next year.” 

But early graduation also means there are some things the students will miss.

“There is a negative side of it where you have to give up sports early or missing the fun classes. I’m really going to miss the clay class because I’m good at ceramics,” Sterling said. 

Although many students say there are benefits to graduating early, there are some who say that it’s worth staying all four years.

“I have enough credits to graduate, but I wanted the whole high school experience with my four years in band and yearbook,” senior Chloe Brown said, “I didn’t want to go into college as a junior because I felt that would be very emotionally stressful.”

Something most students who graduate early don’t consider is the actual process of graduating early and what students must complete in order to leave their junior year. 

“As long as you complete your classes and get good grades it can be fine. I had to take another English class and government, but otherwise if you apply yourself, it’s fine,” Sterling said.