Students opt for early graduation program

Story by Celeste Henderson

While coming home from Austin, senior Madison McCormick sits in the passenger seat of her mom’s car. They have just taken her older sister to college and are heading back to Texarkana. At the last minute, McCormick mentions to her mom her desire to graduate early.

“My mom didn’t show any sign that she didn’t approve of my decision,” McCormick said. “She basically just asked a lot of questions and made me make a pros versus cons list.”

In the end McCormick’s pros outweighed her cons, and she was ready to begin the process to finish high school a year early.

“I’m graduating early because I have known what I wanted to do for awhile now,” McCormick said. “It is almost pointless to go another year of high school if I already have all my credits.”

Ellen Orr is also a junior who will be graduating early. She agrees with McCormick in her reasons for finishing high school early.

“High school is really boring,” Orr said. “ I am ready for more challenging things.”

Though the result is worth the struggle, there’s a lot of work that goes into the program.

“The hardest part I would have to say is taking all the extra classes,” McCormick said. “It’s very time consuming.”

In order to graduate both girls will have to take their junior TAKS tests and three additional senior-level classes along with their junior classes. The classes would include government, economics and English IV.

“Students can graduate early by taking classes during the summer or on the Texas Tech website,” assistant principal Mark Schroeder said.

Orr is taking advantage of the online classes.

“I’m taking my English IV class online,” Orr said. “It’s not that bad cause I have a teacher to help me.”

Since they are a year behind in applying for college, both Orr and McCormick are not sure where they want to go.

“I have applied for a few colleges,” McCormick said. “Right now, I am looking into University of Central Arkansas and Oklahoma State University.”

Orr has yet to start applying to colleges.

“I will apply to places close like Texas A&M- Texarkana and Centenary College in Shreveport,” Orr said. “I also want to apply to ones that are far, just to see if I can get into them.”

Graduating early will cause both girls to leave behind things that they have been doing for almost their lives.

“Cheerleading will definitely be the thing I will miss the most about high school,” McCormick said. “I will miss cheering at games and pep rallies so much.”

Leaving their friends will also be something they will have to over come

“I’m going to miss my soccer team a lot,” Orr said. “I hate that I won’t get to play for my senior year.”