The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Time to take the lead in graduation requirements

Joby Mitmesser

As the spring semester flies by, seniors take a look at their dream college…being a few high school credits short, kissing goodbye to the one possibility of the best experience they could’ve had.

Earning only 22 credits is an extremely easy task for our Cardinals to take on. Holding our Cardinals to a higher standard, bumping up the credit requirements in a way that best fits our students, would improve our high school and promote the best possible future for students.

After the graduating class of 2023, the credit requirements dropped down to 22, most likely due to COVID. Just last year, those seniors and the previous classes before that needed 25 high school credits to graduate.

Those students were held to higher standards than the current students here at GRC. There are benefits that they reaped that we cannot due to this.

Students who want to attend certain colleges can’t if they only have 22 high school credits. Those students won’t even have the opportunity to show off their work accomplished in the past four years, if they can’t even apply to those schools.

By requiring the bare minimum of 22 credits, students are unaware of the common standards of college.

At GRC, the goal should be to give every student an opportunity to have their perfect future.

Compared to many surrounding schools, GRC holds the award for the lowest graduation requirements, tying a few surrounding schools. We are behind when compared to many of the educationally excelling schools around us. GRC is proficient but we can be better.

Surrounding schools, along with other large schools, including Dunbar, Lafayette, Tates Creek, Frederick Douglass, Harrison, Bourbon, Greenwood High, Graves, and Daviess, all require 25 or 26 credits.

These are only a few of the schools in Kentucky who hold these high standards and all still function well with the higher credit requirement.

The schools listed have been contacted and report that the credits stated above are correct and current to all of their students as of the school year 2023-2024.

Restoring the requirement results in students taking more classes, keeping them in school for a longer period of time, which has endless advantages.

Students who are able to actively take classes throughout their four years of high school only improves and maintains their knowledge of their core classes which aids their future in possible job opportunities the students take.

Keeping an active educational journey will lead to the creation of an impressive resume/transcript that heavily supports students expecting a well-paying job, a significant scholarship, and or internship opportunity. Students with more credits to their name only boost their odds of receiving amazing opportunities.

Furthermore, students will have to take a wider variety of classes allowing them to explore possible career opportunities and interests.

By senior year many students only need one mathematics and English credit so they limit themselves to as few classes as possible, pushing away opportunities to earn college credits and explore career options.

Pushing yourself now by taking more integrated or even Advanced Placement courses could save you so much money in the long run. For students planning to attend college it benefits you best to challenge yourself with the opportunity to receive free college credit.

It currently takes $10 to take an AP test and possibly earn college credit by passing when college courses cost around $200-300 each or admission to college being tens of-thousands of dollars, not even including added funds for specific courses. Passing these tests easily saves you so much money if you put the effort into it.

This needs no debate: It’s basically free college credit; the only cost is effort.

GRC also provides two free dual credit opportunities every year to save you time and money in the future if you pass.

Some students believe that earning more than 22 credits is a struggle due to many pathways classes not offering core credits. There’s also the possibility that students won’t enjoy the pathway they are currently in, wasting a year or two on that class. Pathways cause a few complicated issues that revolve around district or state rules.

For example, health science classes don’t count as a health or science credit even with certified papers covering the strict curriculum of both.

This issue is a part of the state requirement that teachers must be certified in a specific subject. Even though the curriculum is met and there is documented proof of certain courses covering the same topics as required credits, state law requires teachers to be certified in those specific topics, which is unfortunately out of the schools’ control.

By requiring more credits, students will be more intentional with their choice of classes, resulting in more opportunities in the future.

Many students worry that if the graduation requirement increased immediately for them, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the out-of-the-blue increase.

There is a solution that would balance the scales for all grades, increasing the credit requirements.

Each grade would increase the amount of credits required by one more than the previous until we reach the amount of credits that forms a well- balanced combination of passing students and creates a challenging environment for our Cardinals, restoring what we once had.

Here’s a possible solution:

  • 2024 graduates: 22 credits
  • 2025 graduates: 23 credits
  • 2026 graduates: 24 credits
  • 2027 graduates: 25 credits

This is a great system that allows the school to analyze how well the increase is working. In case 25 is too high or too low, they can finalize the credit requirement by stopping at 23 or 24.

Maintaining this amount should form the best system as 25 will push students but won’t force a huge challenge of earning 26 or more credits.

Bringing awareness to this issue is what GRC needs in order to catch up in our educational race. It’s time for the Cardinals to “Take the Lead.”

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About the Contributor
Joby Mitmesser
Joby Mitmesser, Managing Editor
Hey! My name is Joby Mitmesser and I am THE BETTER Managing Editor for the Smoke Signals media team. My favorite activity is eating pounds of food and not sharing that food with others! I love playing sports with my friends, and I am a part of the Cardinal soccer team where I play center back. My favorite artist would have to be Taylor Swift; her music is honestly just superior. Playing Rook is one of the best ways to pass time throughout a boring day. If you ever need a Rook partner, email me… I am your guy. Shoutout Liam, my partner in crime. #ALL IN!

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