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Taylor Cantrell's Early Graduation

by Amberlee Rost

January 31, 2012

    Many people wait for their new chapter in life.

 Junior, Taylor Cantrell, made her new chapter come early.

    Cantrell recently finalized the decision to graduate her junior year instead of her senior year. A major part of her decision had to do with a recent car wreck that could’ve ended her life.

     “Since the wreck I’ve had to mature. I realized I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do, and I also realized how precious life is,” said Cantrell.

      Like many teens, she didn’t feel at place in her school. The difference between she and her classmates was that Cantrell felt her place wasn’t in high school.

       “I supported her because her argument was that she was ready to go beyond high school,” said counselor Kathy Lane.

        Her determination may be what got her through the difficult tasks she faced.

        After sitting down with Lane, they wrote an application letter to the board. This letter explained why she wanted to graduate a year early and what she was going to do with that extra year. They also had to convince Principal Randy Luebbert to take the letter to the board and present it as a good idea.

         “She worked hard to get it accomplished,” said Luebbert. “She didn’t just want out.  She had a plan for her future.”

          Luebbert presented Cantrell’s case to the board during a closed session. They voted to approve her for a year early graduation with only one stipulation; she must be accepted into college.

          After the difficult process and demanding independent study classes, Cantrell is ready to move beyond high school. She can only walk with the 2013 class and is leaning toward not walking at the graduation ceremony at all. She is ready not to run, or to take a year off, but to fulfill her drive to be a step ahead. She plans to attend OTC using her A plus and then will transfer to St. Louis University and study genetics.

          Several people tried to convince her that this type of early graduation, a full year early, would be a mistake.

          “If it is a mistake, it’s mine to make,” said Cantrell.

           While she’ll miss those she has grown up with, she’s ready to get a head start on her new chapter.


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