The path to graduation

The path to graduation

Marlenn J. Orozco, Staff Photographer

Seniors can refer to the school website to make sure they have all the requirements to graduate. Along with the specific number of years for each subject, the webpage also informs students about the requirement that each graduating senior pass the California High School Exit.

Sharon Kim, Parents & Teachers Editor

As graduation rapidly approaches, many students have been scrambling to raise their grades and be removed from the Senior Fail List. Individuals who have been placed on the list are prevented from participating in any end-of-the-year events including Prom, the senior activities, Grad Night, and Graduation.

For many seniors, one ‘F’ in a class will not hinder them from walking down the aisle at graduation; however, teachers may place pupils with F’s or D’s on the Senior Fail List to show the administration the number of students who are at risk of flunking and having to retake the entire year. Placement on the list can also serve as a wake-up call for students suffering from Senioritis.

“I’m on the list for English even though I have a B,” senior Mario Martinez said. “But if I wasn’t put on the senior fail list, I know I would start slacking off. I think it’s a good thing I’m on it.”

There are some classes that are more important than others, however, when it comes to graduating. English, Economics, and Government are required courses for 12th graders; thus, all seniors must get a D- or higher in these classes to get the necessary credits and graduate.

“I was put on the list for ERWC, my English class. I’m currently completing all of my assignments from here on out,” senior Billy Taing said. “According to Ms. Hill, I should be able to receive a passing grade if I do so. If I fail, I run the risk of not graduating, because I need credits for four years of English.”

Students who have not earned their needed number of credits in other subject areas must also pass those classes as well. For example, a senior currently taking a second year of math needs to pass the course as the school requires that all students successfully complete at least two years of math by the time they graduate. These class requirements can be found in ‘Academics’ under the ‘Students’ tab at the Downey High School website. Seniors must also have passed the CAHSEE exam and completed the Senior Exit Project to walk across the stage.

Those who have been accepted to a college or a university have additional requirements that need to be met. Students who plan to attend a University of California or California State University institution must successfully complete certain “A-G Requirements.” The requirements are as follows: two years of History/Social Science, four years of college-prep English, three years of Mathematics, two years of laboratory Science, two years of Foreign Language, one year of Visual/Performing Arts, and one year of College Preparatory Electives. Further instruction can be found at the institutions’ respective websites. Private schools or out-of-state schools have different requirements than those listed for the California public schools and should be researched accordingly.

“I’m going to USC [University of Southern California],” senior Rebecca Velasco said, “so I constantly check the website to make sure that I am on track. The websites also list the AP credits offered if you pass AP exams.”

By the end of the school year, a student should have 220 credits. Each class at Downey is worth 5.000 credits per semester if passed. Counselors and administrators have emphasized this requirement by wearing black shirts with “Got 220?” stamped across them. The faculty is working tirelessly in the final push to ensure that 12th graders are able to walk across the stage at graduation.

June 23 is only a month away. Students who work diligently to remove themselves from the Senior Fail List and meet all of their credit requirements will be given more than just the opportunity to graduate; they will be allowed to step, for the first time, into the real world.