The Stress of Senior Year

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The Stress of Senior Year

Peyton Stoike, Editor in Chief

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At every high school graduation across the country, there is at least one Valedictorian, and at least one Salutatorian. Some schools are changing policies, pushing for the seniors to meet a standard requirement and having multiple valedictorians, instead of just one. For every student who is awarded this honor, there are extended amounts of stress that push them be not only the best that they can be, but the best overall. In the Alliance High School graduating class of 2017 there are three candidates, creating extra pressure. On top of the stress, there are the impending decisions about choosing and applying for the right colleges, filling out scholarships, and getting the best grades.

I, myself, as a candidate for valedictorian, put extreme pressure on myself to work as hard as I can, get the best grades, turn in extraordinary work, and involve myself in many activities. But will all the work I have put in come down to the wire? What will all the work I have done stand for in my future?

The very policies that determine Valedictorian and Salutatorian are not based on  GPA. Along with grades, the administration also looks at state testing, ACT scores; if there is still a tie, the number of A pluses, As, and A minuses are counted. If all else fails, the choice comes down to the principal. Although these are the only requirements at AHS, there are stipulations that could be added or are a part of a different high school’s requirements.

One of the most controversial additions that many feel should be added is attendance.  “Attendance is a behavior but so is serving the community and other things,” Mr. Clear stated, “I think that it really depends on each school or school district to see what they value in determining valedictorian.”

Each school in the panhandle has different requirements. Some require a college class to be taken, others require a certain amount of classes or a specific class to be taken. Some are dependent on ACT scores, others are not. These schools also have their own policies on if they allow multiple or only a single valedictorian. At AHS, the requirements are set in stone until the NeSA state testing is discontinued. From next year on, those in the running are exempt from this requirement.

Here’s the kicker, most seniors take college classes. Most college grading systems are on a different scale than high school. At Alliance High School, our grading system is on a 7 point scale, while our local community college at which seniors take classes from is on a 10 point grading scale. Is it fair that those seniors who are in the running are receiving differently scored grades for classes? Is it fair that some in the running are taking a full eight class periods in a day, and others only a certain few to graduate?  Should and would these college grades count, if not based on the same system as the high school?

According to AHS principal Mr. Clear, the college classes that most seniors take, if are available in dual credit, which are being applied to both a high school transcript and a college transcript, are following the grading scale of Western Nebraska Community College. The grade that is earned in that class will remain on the scale in which initially graded on. Although most seniors take these college classes, there are some that often choose to also be a teacher aide or take a free period. With a certain amount of credits to graduate, neither of these class periods have any credit that counts toward graduating.

Seniors are required to take certain amounts of classes to graduate and have enough credits from those classes taken over four years. Taking an English class is required for all four years of high school. The three tracks for a senior in taking English are taking a dual credit class through WNCC, taking the Advanced Placement English class, or taking regular English 12.

“I think each student’s situation is different and it really just depends. All three tracks are appropriate and all three tracks may not be appropriate for each individual. I have seen successful students take English 12 or College English and gain from either one. What the student has to look at is some post secondary schools will not accept the dual credit as English credit for a college freshman, but there is the chance that the class may be used as elective credit. There also may be a chance that the student will have to retake the English course. Colleges generally do give credit for the AP classes, if the student has earned a high enough score to count,” the opinion of principal, Mr. Clear.

As the first half of senior year is coming to a close, seniors are starting to feel obligated to finish their college applications, choose which school they must attend, and fill out scholarships to help pay for their post secondary schooling. Regardless of whether they stay or go, each senior will be successful in their own way and leave their mark on the world.





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