Seniors are Graduating Early


Media by Shane Matzen

Abigail Messina, senior, participated in early release at MHS where she attended classes through St. Louis Community College. Messina was able to make this decision and miss her senior soccer season after having committed to play soccer at St. Ambrose University in the fall.

Izabel Cockrum

Before school began virtually in the fall, Izabel Cockrum, senior, had only thought about the idea of graduating a semester early. Only after starting school online did she begin to seriously consider it as a choice.

“I hated online school and didn’t feel comfortable doing in-person school either,” Cockrum said. “I felt like I was wasting my time.”

Though early graduation differs from the traditional high school graduation path, Cockrum said the mental health benefits and the time spent away from school have been incredibly beneficial.

She has spent her time off working and spending time with her family and friends who have already graduated. Although she had the spring semester off, Cockrum’s graduation party will be held in July along with her cousin’s. 

Her free time has also been devoted to fashion design including developing an Instagram account to showcase her work in apparel as well as collectables and decor.

“I have loved fashion since before I could remember,” Cockrum said.

Cockrum will be attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in the fall as a fashion major to pursue her passions. 

I hated online school and didn’t feel comfortable doing in-person school either. I felt like I was wasting my time.”

— Izabel Cockrum

Abigail Messina

After committing to playing college soccer at St. Ambrose University, senior Abigail Messina decided to avoid the risk of injury from what would have been her senior season and do early release.

As a result, Messina no longer attends courses at MHS but she does take classes through St. Louis Community College. She spoke to her counselor at St. Ambrose to ensure these college credits would be accepted. 

The time spent at school for Messina has decreased significantly with classes for only two hours three days a week. 

“[The] workload is pretty easy,” Messina said. “I work a lot more and have time to help around the house and hang out with friends.”

She has been working at Sunny Street Cafe on any day she has off school as well as putting in time with her trainer. 

Messina will now have 36 college credits going into her freshman year of college and will be studying exercise science on a physical therapy track in addition to playing for the women’s soccer team.

She finished up her school year on Friday, May 7.

“I am very happy,” Messina said. “I have been staying busy and been having so much fun working and working out.”

Jacob Rosson

Jacob Rosson, senior, said he has always been interested in graduating early in order to prioritize other aspects of his life.

He has been traveling in his free time to places such as Chicago.

Rosson’s parents have been supportive of his decision and the free time it has opened up for him to work. He currently works 40 hours a week at Target in order to save money in order to attend community college. 

Though he has a busy work schedule, Rosson has still been able to make time for socializing.

“I intend on keeping in touch with my close friends,” Rosson said. “I’ll still keep up with them through social media and texting.”

Though COVID-19 and its effects played no role in influencing his decision, Rosson said graduating early has caused a great improvement in his mental health.

“I’ve been able to divert my focus towards other areas of life,” Rosson said. “It feels like a burden is gone.”