Seniors Graduate Early


Lori Cassidy

Maddie Porter, Ads Manager

With the uncertainties of COVID and the implementation of the block schedule Lori Cassidy, took a chance and decided to graduate early. “It was really easy,” Cassidy said. She already had most of her credits, and the relaxed Capstone requirements made the process efficient and feasible. Cassidy said the most challenging part has been figuring out how to occupy her time over the next year.

“I wasn’t feeling super inspired by the idea of college,” she said.

Instead, Cassidy will be working full time at the Little Red Hen Bakery, training for rafting, and car camping when the weather permits. She will be taking a gap year, and hopefully knocking out some college credits at CMC in Leadville. She intends to re-apply to universities for fall 2022. Come spring 2022 Cassidy is going to take some time off of school to raft the Grand Canyon.

She urges anyone considering it to put thought into graduating early, and have plans for the extra time. It isn’t worth it to do nothing for five months.

When Sophie Pressly heard that almost all fall sports were being postponed until the spring, she realized that meant soccer would be pushed into the summer, and not wanting to wait she made the decision to graduate early.

“Ultimately the only reason I wanted to stay for the spring semester was for soccer,” Pressly said.

Sophie Pressly

“It really wasn’t that difficult [to graduate early],” she said. Thanks to the block schedule she didn’t have to do any summer classes, and completed her remaining credits in one semester.

“COVID made it really difficult to figure out what I wanted to do.” Initially, Pressly wanted to set out on a year abroad but realized that wasn’t going to be feasible with the pandemic. As an alternative, she will be going to Costa Rica to get hands-on experience volunteering in a medical environment. Pressly is hoping to start college as a Pre-med in the fall of 2021. If she persists with the medical path she hopes to get into medical school and pursue a career in the field.

“I would definitely recommend [graduating early],” Pressly said, “I think it is definitely a blessing to be able to graduate a semester early.”

“I just really never enjoyed high school at all, and I wanted to move out of Salida as soon as possible,” Maya O’Hara said. She was given the opportunity to move to Fort Collins in December and is now living there having finished high school. O’Hara took advantage of CMC’s free credits over the summer and took a few more classes during the fall semester.

Maya O’Hara

She will be pursuing esthetics and is currently working and living in Fort Collins. She started school at IBMC in January and will be a registered esthetician by May or June this year. For the next few years, she will be working for an esthetician in Fort Collins gaining experience. In the later future, O’Hara intends to open her own esthetics business somewhere else besides Colorado.

She emphasizes that when you graduate early it is important to be productive with your time.

“Traveling before college was super important to me,” said Ruby Shomion. Shomion is currently driving down Northern Baja with her dad, to their home in San Jose Del Cabo. For the coming months, they will be exploring the region and finding new places to surf. In the fall of 2021, she will be attending Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California.

“I found it by looking up “best colleges to surf at” but ended up falling in love with their community. It doesn’t hurt that it’s right on the beach in Cali,” Shomion said.

Ruby Shomion

For Shomion, it was hard to pass up the opportunity to have a semester off, especially because of how accessible it was.

“All I had to do was talk to my counselor and see what credits I need in order to graduate,” she said.

Shomion recommends graduating early to anyone who doesn’t have a plan for after high school.

“It helps you get everything in order,” she said.