Cavaliers opt to graduate high school early


Deane stands with her diploma in front of a Clover Hill backdrop.

As this challenging year passes by, Cavaliers have become more united and prepared for their next step in school life. Former Cavaliers Lexi Deane and Wil Manderski share their journey as early graduates of Clover Hill High School for the 2019-2020 school year. This choice allowed Deane and Manderski to start focusing on the life ahead of them sooner than the average student.

Manderski emphasizes the importance of building his career in a timely manner as a reason for his decision on graduating early as well as the pandemic. 

“I graduated early from high school to try and focus on the future for myself and my academic career,” Manderski said. “I didn’t want to continue my high school with the coronavirus regulations because I was unsure of how things would play out for me.”

Deane had planned out her college years early, which allowed her to be flexible in high school.

“I graduated early because I had the credits, and I already knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Deane said. “I am in my second semester of college and working on other projects for my life.”

Furthermore, graduating early allowed Manderski to focus more on himself.

“This [graduating early] gave me plenty of time to solely focus on my area of study and allowed me to schedule things by myself,” Manderski said. “Scheduling was a big deal for me because I get to have my Fridays off, and it gives me time to see my grandmother and parents more than I used to.”

Deane encourages current students who are interested to try to graduate early either for college or a gap year.

“Yes, I would recommend graduating early if you can because you really can take the time to figure your life out before going into the real world,” Deane said, “You can also travel or save up money; there will be no rush.”

Although graduating early keeps students ahead of the game, Deane reveals the struggles she had to go through to make it happen.

“Some disadvantages are being in a different place in life than your friends,” Deane said, “It can put a strain on your friendship.”

According to Manderski, one downside of graduating early was the feeling of regret.

“When graduating early, my biggest regret was the fact that I was leaving so many friends behind and not being able to experience my senior year with them,” Manderski said.

Manderski does not recommend graduating early for everyone.

“I wouldn’t exactly recommend it because it is based around if you think you are ready or not to spend time on this commitment,” Manderski said. “I know I wasn’t ready, but I spent my entire summer cramming in my last few classes to be able to graduate.”

Currently, Manderski attends John Tyler Community College and is pleased with his academic progress.

“Right now, I have made it into my second semester at JTCC and have maintained a 4.0 GPA, which was really exciting for me,” Manderski said. “I also joined a program to help me when I want to transfer to VCU.”

Alyson Rizzuti spoke up about her thoughts on students graduating early as a school counselor. 

“Every student’s situation is unique and early graduation is not always a good fit,” Rizzuti said. “We do our best to work with students on their personal circumstances to offer the best options.”

Rizzuti states the extra preparation needed to allow a student to graduate early.

“Oftentimes, students who decide to graduate early end up taking classes in night school, summer school, or online in order to meet their credit requirements,” Rizzuti said. “We usually bring in a parent/guardian at this point in the conversation to make sure everyone is on the same page. We like to make sure the student has thought out the next step: how will you support yourself if you graduate early?”

As a counselor, Rizzuti explains her part in this process.

“Students who ‘double promote’ to graduate early have to meet with their counselors to review credits. We look at the classes that students need to pass to determine if they can earn their diploma by their goal date; that would be the biggest step,” Rizutti said.

The most common reason why students graduate early is to be time efficient like Deane and Manderski. However, Rizzuti states another reason why students would finish high school earlier than the average student.

“Some students are just catching up to their correct grade level based on a retention from earlier, like elementary or middle school. These students are the same age as seniors, and as long as they have been successful in school and will be able to achieve their goals, they don’t have as many negatives to consider,” Rizzuti said.

All in all, as students, Deane and Manderski find graduating early hectic, but truly rewarding based on what they have accomplished this past year in college.

“I couldn’t be happier with my decision,” Manderski said.

Manderski happily receives his diploma.