Early Graduates Talk Life After High School

Tori Favazza, Staff Writer

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Some students, while appreciating the high school experience, cannot wait to move on and possibly even start their careers. Whether it be because of a profession or just personal preference, we talked to students who decided to graduate early and get a head start on the rest of their lives.
To decide to graduate early is a tough decision to make, but some students want to be done with high school as soon as possible. This was the case for Kaleb Thomas, a senior who graduated a semester early here at Parkway Central High. “I think it was just my tenacity to get out of school. It was very stressful for me, especially going through junior year. I think that parents expect so much from you, and all schools ever want to do is care about your grades and your GPA,” Thomas said, “School can be positive but it also has this negative shroud over you, because it affects you in a way that’s like ‘Oh, I have to get this GPA or my parents will be disappointed in me.’ Graduating early I think would take the stress off of me, and along with that I get to do what I love most which is dance.”
Thomas, a dancer with huge aspirations, has a very specific goal in mind when it comes to life after his high school days. “I’m signed to a talent agency, ‘411 South,’ I also got a talent scholarship from the University I’m going to which is Point Park University,” Thomas said. Dance has had a massive impact on Thomas, bringing relief to him even when life was at its hardest. “…I was going through situational depression and dance was my savior and I still dance to this day,” Thomas said. “It was family problems, it was a lot of problems with my dad. We had a little outing, and that sort of just shifted our family’s perspective.” Though he has only been dancing for 5 years, this aspiring professional dancer does seemingly all types of dance. “I love jazz, but I’m trained in four disciplines, which is ballet, modern, jazz, and hip hop,” said Thomas.
Regarding high school, Thomas thinks that Parkway Central High could, in fact, improve their curriculum by adding to their fine arts program. “I think they should acquire more fine arts, I don’t understand why they don’t offer dance classes. I know they have singing classes but it’s very minute because they have jazz choir, or acapella, or regular choir, but there’s so much you can do with that. I think our school has a very good fine arts program, and I think they could definitely expand their fine art budget,” said Thomas, “I think that’s the most deprived of them all. When you think about it, if the school needs to cut down on budgeting, they go towards the things that don’t really matter, such as fine arts. But that’s the thing that saves people because it’s their outlet of expression.”
Peyton Douglas, another senior that graduated a semester early, wanted to further involve herself in the military; serving her country in the best way she possibly could.
“Originally, I wanted to continue my military training during what would be second semester, but it didn’t work out for various reasons,” Douglas said. But the military is not just a job for this brave soldier. It’s about having a tight bond with her fellow co-workers in the force.
“I’ve been in the military for almost a year now. I have a lot of family friends in the military and it really honestly just makes sense for me. It gives me a sense of purpose… They’re my family now. I know that at the end of the day we all have each other’s backs no matter what. There is a real tangible bond between every Army soldier. Even if you don’t get along, you still take care of them because that’s how a family works. It’s just nice to know I’ll always be there for someone and to trust that they’ll always be there too.” Douglas plans to be in the force as long as she sees fit, finding passion in her own patriotism. “Since I’m in the National Guard, which is a reserve component of the Army, I have the opportunity to serve my country in addition to working a civilian job. I’m planning on serving until I can retire at 20 years of service,” Douglas said.