Panther students graduate early

When starting the semester of their final year, seniors have an important decision to make: when to say goodbye. Some students might prefer to hang around for one more semester, while others prefer to run away from senioritis. 

Emma Schoors, a 2022 early graduate and former Panther Prowler staff member, wanted to graduate early to devote more time to her career goals. “Juggling school and work was difficult, so being able to have the independence and lack of schedule that graduation offers was important,” Schoors said. 

Schoors has large plans for her career and is looking forward to taking her newspaper experience to the next level. “I’m heading towards a work-based post-school career. I worked as a music journalist throughout high school, and plan to continue. Making it out to shows or doing interviews was incredibly difficult on school days, so now I have the flexibility needed to do that,” Schoors said.

Caitlin Fitzgerald, a 2022 early graduate and former Newbury Park High School student, wanted to graduate early to focus on her best interest and reap the benefits of having a more open schedule. “I just wanted to be done and especially since COVID and stuff, I just didn’t see a point in going to school, you know? Because, like, it’s not the same…and being able to not have that barrier, like I could apply to more jobs now. Because I can work in the morning or I can work whenever,” Fitzgerald said.

Similar to the winter cold, seniors each year are met with an unforgiving ailment. Senioritis is very common among high school students but only some take action to rid themselves of the disease sooner than later. “I felt like last year was my senior year… So I was getting senioritis last year because I hated going,” Fitzgerald said.

What’s next to come varies from person to person. During this term, 30 students graduated early. Some were joining college sports teams, moving, joining the military and more. For Fitzgerald, Moorpark has allowed her the opportunity to have choices. “I could do a year and a half…because I did this semester. And then I can either take a semester to like early transfer or like work more which I don’t know which one I’m gonna do but I plan on going to…graduate school or even like a Ph.D. program,” Fitzgerald said.

Around 30 students this semester have graduated early alongside Schoors and Fitzgerald. In order to graduate early students need to plan early. Brittany Hong, College and Career center guidance specialist, suggests planning as soon as junior year. “The steps that students will take to be an early graduate is to speak with their counselor first because they have to make sure that they have all the credits that the state of California wants you to have in order to graduate,” Hong said. 

Lesley Nedwick, a counselor at Newbury Park High School, has guided many scholars graduate over the years by planning out their credit obtainment. “What students need to do to get ahead in their credits so they can get to their 230 credits by January of their senior year,” Nedwick said.

Early graduation can be an interesting option for those to whom it applies and it’s definitely worth a consideration.“This is an exciting time in our lives, really the beginning of our lives, and I wanted to start that new chapter as soon as possible,” Schoors said.