Students' requests to graduate early granted

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— Fourteen Steamboat Springs High School seniors will get a taste of real life this semester as they work to save money for college.

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve that 14 seniors graduate mid-year allowing them time to work and gain experience before college.

District Superintendent Cyndy Simms gathered information from the students' interviews with the administrative team and written essays to find that the most likely reason for mid-year graduation was to work full time to earn money for college.

The next highest reason for graduation early was to take classes at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus to transfer to a four-year college.

All students plan to attend college, according to their mid-year graduation essays presented to administrators, counselors and the superintendent.

"These are some phenomenal kids that have made this request," Simms said.

This is the sixth year seniors have gone through a rigorous mid-year graduation process that included counselor and parent support, writing essays and undergoing interviews in front of the administrative team.

Mid-year graduates include Allison Berger, Evan Champlin, Camilla Chase, Lindsay Dettwiler, Rachel Donahue, Sherwood Dunlop, Stephanie Hamilton, Brad Mortensen, Joe Oakland, Kieran O'Halloran, Amy Polniak, Amber Rangitsch, Kristin Solawetz and Stevie West.

"In my mind, much of this epitomizes R-4. It's an example of expectations of R-4," School Board President Paul Fisher said.

R-4 is the Board of Education's results policy in the manual that keeps the district maintaining success and self-realization in the classroom. The board and staff have had troubles in the past trying to determine a definition of what those terms mean.

Simms said the policy was put in place for the district to reach its goals. "What are we about and what are the results we want?" Simms said.

Students were to write an essay addressing their goals and plans for the future as well as how they have prepared to meet their goals.

Students varied on the question of one thing they would change about the high school from finding ways to change student's diversity to offering medical certification courses.

The most popular response to what the students like most about the high school was that the small size of the school renders more one-on-one support.

Last year, only six seniors graduated midterm.

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