The digital magazine of J. Sterling Morton West High School

The Sterling

The digital magazine of J. Sterling Morton West High School

The Sterling

The digital magazine of J. Sterling Morton West High School

The Sterling

The Significance of Graduation Requirements

The graduation ceremony for the class of 2024 is approaching! The road to graduation, as of right now, has not been an easy one for some students who are currently seniors, but they’re close to graduating from Morton West High School. This school year is not over yet because to graduate each student must meet the requirements prior to graduation. It’s important for students to meet the graduation requirements because that is how they’ll be able to walk up on stage, dress up in a white or maroon cap and gown, and receive their certificate of completion of high school. Any student who has questions about the graduation requirements or any questions about where they are right now in terms of grades, GPA (Grade Point Average), etc, must see their counselors in the counseling suite located in A101.

Room A101. Located in the first floor near the cafeteria. Photo by Francisco Luna.

If you’re a student who’s a freshman this year, it’s imperative that you start looking into the graduation requirements because knowing what the requirements are ahead of time can help prepare you as you embark on your academic journey as a high schooler. Ms. Amanda Torres, Assistant Principal of Instruction here at Morton West, said, “You don’t want to wait to find out you haven’t met the graduation requirements. So, a good time to always start is Freshman year so that you can plan for high school what courses you want to take, and when you want to take them, and then within those extra class times that you have what other options you want to pursue. Also, consider what career path you want to go down and what electives can help support that.” As an example, if a student is interested in taking an auto mechanics class and one of their career goals is to become a mechanic when they leave high school, then meeting the graduation requirements is essential for their career goal of being an auto mechanic.

There are 20 credits in total that each student must have before graduation. The classes that students need graduation credits in are English, science, social science, math, and elective classes, such as P.E. (Physical Education). Ms. Bianca Cahue, a Guidance counselor here at Morton West, said, all students graduate with 20 credits which are broken down into different content areas. So, every student needs four credits in English, 2 credits in science, 2 1/2 for social science, and then three years of math, and then the tricky one is for elective requirements it’s either one of the three. “So, you can take one year of fine art or one year of a CTE (Career and Technical Education) class or two years of a modern language class. So, again, it’s one of the three. Typically, a lot of seniors think you do need those two years of foreign language, but you don’t.” If you want to make sure that you have all the graduation requirements met, Skyward is a helpful tool to track your progress. Simply input your username and password, then click on the graduation requirements section, and you’ll be able to see what requirements you have met and which ones you have not.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the SAT test are also graduation requirements that every student must complete before graduating from Morton West. FAFSA is a program that provides federal student aid, such as loans or work-study funds. However, to receive federal student aid, a student must complete the FAFSA form so when that student goes to college or career school, he/she won’t

Counseling Suite within room A101. Photo by Francisco Luna.

have to worry about debt because the FAFSA form gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to help pay for college or career school. The SAT test is a test that is required by the State of Illinois for each student to complete in their junior year. Ms. Amanda Torres, said, “A lot of the requirements that students have are through state-by-state law. For example, the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is one of them. The state requires students in their junior year to take the SAT during the school day. The SAT is also offered on Saturdays. However, that doesn’t count as that graduation requirement because the SAT must be taken during the school day, so that’s a good example of one graduation requirement.” Completing the FAFSA form and scoring high on the SAT test can set a student on the path of going to college, trade, or career school.

Another graduation requirement is the Morton West Decision Day form which is due on April 19th, 2024, and can be found on the class of 2024 Teams page for seniors. The Decision Day form lets the school know what your intentions are after graduation. If you know that you’re going to college next fall, you must submit the name of the college that you will be attending. If you know that you’re not going to college after graduation and are going to be doing something else instead,  like going into the workforce, then you must state that as you’re filling out the form.

Whether you’re a Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior, do not wait until the last minute to find out about the graduation requirements.

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