Feel like May of your graduation year is way too long to wait to get a head start on college or on your career? Graduating in December might be an option for you.


To graduate early, seniors must have earned all their required credits by the end of the first semester, and then they are free to use the second semester for whatever they choose outside of high school.


“I’ve been ready to graduate since freshman year when my sister graduated,” said Billy Hampton, one of 27 seniors who will graduate after this semester. “And I really wanted to get a jumpstart on my career, so I figured I’d go to Vol State for the spring semester so I can graduate college early.” 


Hampton’s long-term plans are to attend Western Kentucky University and attain a doctorate in anesthesia. He and the other early graduates still have the option to walk in the graduation ceremony in May.


Emma Sneed is another HHS senior getting a head start on college. During what would be her second semester here, she will instead be a non-degree student at Belmont before continuing there in the fall to become an architect.


 “I just want to design things, design buildings, houses,” she said.


Not all early graduates are going off to college right away. Maggie Redpath, for example, will be moving to Australia for three months in February.


 “I’m going with a Christian organization called Youth with a Mission, which is a program that bases itself in different countries to evangelize and preach the gospel to people around the world,” she said.


Although excited for Australia, Redpath isn’t looking forward to leaving the people at HHS.


 “I’ll definitely miss the connectivity of high school and how everyone is so close. Just the fact that you can go to your teachers for anything, and I know it won’t be the same in college, so I’ll definitely miss that,” she said. 


Cooper Griffith plans to leave HHS this month so he can save money for college.


 “I’ve realized that if I want to make progress towards my future I’ll have to go to college, and to do that, I have to be able to afford it,” he explained. “Another semester here wouldn’t necessarily help me, so I’ve decided to go the route of working so I can earn enough money to afford college by the time August rolls around.”


There is perhaps another good reason to graduate early, and Sneed touched on it: “... I’m tired of the high school drama,” she said with a laugh.


Whatever the reasons, if you’re interested in graduating after the first semester of your senior year you should talk to your guidance counselor and begin planning.


Story by Bailey Guy and Owen McClister


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