Our education system is very heavily based on structure, a set formula for students to follow in order to reach maximum success. There are six years of elementary school (including kindergarten), three years of middle school, and four years of high school, all in preparation for college. However, the accepted strategy isn’t always the best for every student. Senior Melissa Bailes is technically only in her third year of high school, but she is preparing to graduate in June along with the rest of the class of 2015.
“I just didn’t really take a lot of electives, I took a lot of academic classes,” Bailes said. “And I only took one off-roll. I’ve also taken math every trimester.”
Thanks to unique scheduling and hard work, Bailes is ready to graduate, despite the fact that she is a year younger than her classmates.
“Pretty much all my friends are seniors, so I’m graduating with my friends,” Bailes said.
But what about that legendary fourth year? Senior year is promised to be an essential part of the high school experience.
“I just don’t like high school,” Bailes said. “I didn’t really feel like staying a year longer if I could get out and get my life started already.”
In addition to academic achievement, Bailes has also been working outside of school.
“I have a job, I work at ESS,” Bailes said. “It is a really great job, and it’s awesome.”
Not only does Bailes have her requirements filled out, but she also has a steady plan for the future.
“I’m going to attend University of Colorado Boulder for chemical engineering,” Bailes said.
And Bailes is benefiting from her year less of high school, rather than suffering.
“Already I’ve received a huge scholarship because of it,” Bailes said. “It kind of just proves to people that I’m focused on getting things done.”
In the future, this early graduation will continue to help Bailes get ahead, and prove that sometimes it’s okay to learn outside the lines.