Send off

A group of MCHS seniors kickstart their future by graduating a semester early


Evan Mach / Unsplash

Each year, a handful of MCHS students choose to graduate a semester early. This year, 34 will end their high school careers as December graduates.

Ella Trimingham, Copy Editor

Seniors study hard preparing for their last time taking finals, excited to take on their new lives and new opportunities. These seniors are putting their best food forward with the finish line of high school in sight.

In order to graduate in December, Students are required to have 20 full credits going into senior year. They are required 24 credits to graduate.  Some students can get there in seven semesters where others have to get it done in 8. Graduating early has many benefits to students who want to either start their careers earlier, or get a headstart in their career.

This year MCHS has considerably less seniors graduating in December. “We would typically have about 50 to 60 December graduates, this year we have 34,” said Curtis Menke the College and Career counselor.

Being a December graduate is especially hard during this time, not only because of the requirements, but also because of the impact covid has had on students’ education. “It is more difficult now than ever to become a December graduate because we require more credits and more specific credits like math and science than ever before,” said Menke.

In order to meet full requirements to graduate early, some students have to add extra classes. Students typically have to be willing to take two classes during the first semester. “I did have to take two English classes, English four and AP literature.” Said Michelle Garcia, a December graduate, “but it is really worth it in my opinion.”

“It’s not too difficult. It’s just about willing to put the work in,” said Nathan DeCicco, a junior planning to graduate early senior year. “I will be taking extra classes over the summer to meet the requirements.”

Due to the impact COVID had on students’ education, it was also a deciding factor when choosing to graduate early.

“After being in virtual learning for as long as we were, after the first couple months I was like, if this is what school is going to look like, I am just going to try and get through it as fast as possible,” said Sarina Dale, a December graduate.

Audrey Klepacki, another senior who plans on graduating early added, “I chose to stay home during the second semester after covid, I decided why not change and move on with my future.”

Most of the December graduates start out at MCC to continue their education. Some plan on transferring to a 4 year school after, and some will just use that time to really plan what they want their future to look like.

“I am going to go to MCC for general education and then I will figure out what I want to do in the fall,” Said Dale, finding this extra semester of general education great for planning.

“I’m planning on starting out at MCC on Jan. 18, to be a physical therapist,” said Klepacki, “I think it gives you a little bit of time to adapt to life without being on such a strict schedule.”

“I really needed a break between college and high school, I definitely didn’t want to take a gap year because I knew I wouldn’t have any motivation to go back,” said Garcia, “I also plan on going to MCC for the fall. I’m hoping to major in some sort of social science, possibly sociology.”

Graduating early can create bittersweet feelings for seniors. “I’ve talked with several early grads. A few of them are really excited, they’re counting down the days. And a couple have been very nervous and skeptical,” said Menke. “One is even reconsidering whether or not to want to be done in two weeks or come back for the other semester.”

“There are some things I am sad about, like the week before prom and the week of graduation because those are always really exciting for seniors,” said Dale, “but at the same time I still get to go to those things”

Michelle Garica said, “I feel like I am missing out a little bit by graduating early. I know if I stayed the full year, I would just feel burnt out and my grades wouldn’t be as good as the first semester.”

“Around Homecoming, I was a little bit nervous, I didn’t really know what to do, but once I picked my schedule at MCC I was really excited,” said Klepacki.

Seniors say their last goodbyes to the classmates and friends they’ve made throughout the last 3 years. As they walk out of the building for the last time, they look back and reflect on the impact high school has made on them.