Johnson prepares to graduate a year early with home schooling diploma

Formerly considered a junior, Haley Johnson is now defined as a senior and will graduate this year.

“I have been in high school since I was 13 years old. I have a full transcript and enough credits to graduate. My family and I had already decided that I would be graduating this year, I just hadn’t changed my grade in the school’s system because I had not decided if there were any more classes that I wanted to take,” Johnson said.

Johnson transferred to Cedar Falls High School this semester after being home schooled out of state.

“I will be graduating with a home school diploma, which is exactly the same as my peers’ diplomas but mine will just be from homeschooling,” Johnson said.

“My home school experience has been fantastic. I have been homeschooled since second grade, and this semester was my first semester in a public school since then. Home schooling has given me the unique opportunity to work at my own pace and pursue the subjects that I am most interested in while also completing the core subjects,” Johnson said.

Unfortunately, because of the short notice and the fact that she will receive a home schooling diploma, Johnson is not allowed to walk with the senior class at graduation.

“I completely understand the school’s reasons for not allowing me to walk with my class. I will not be receiving my diploma from the school, and I made my final decision to graduate too late of a time to negotiate letting me walk. I am disappointed because I would love to participate in the ceremony with my friends, but I do understand. I am graduating in a home school ceremony, where I will have a cap and gown, walk with other home schoolers and receive my diploma,” Johnson said.

Instead of going to college right away, Johnson will take a year to work and gain perspective on life.

“After I graduate, I am taking a gap year to work and just find myself as a person. I want to give myself a chance to pay for college without incurring a lot of debt or student loans. I also am going to try to go back to Virginia for a bit. And, of course, I am going to use the time to continue honing my photography skills,” Johnson said.

Although she will leave the high school early, Johnson plans to stay in Cedar Falls. “I am planning on studying commercial photography at Hawkeye Community College in the fall of 2014. I have already been accepted to the program and I am so excited. Photography is my passion, and I cannot wait to get out in the world and try to make a name for myself as an artist,” Johnson said.

Though excited about the opportunities ahead of her, Johnson will miss being at Cedar Falls High School.

“I will miss so much about CF. I will miss my fellow classmates, the teachers, the counselors. I will miss the positive energy and the generally happy atmosphere. I will miss skipping through the halls and hugging my friends. I will miss the jokes I have with my teachers and the routine that I have here,” Johnson said.

“Moving from another state in the middle of the year is incredibly hard, and it’s even harder when you are starting public school for the first time. I walked in the door and was instantly welcomed and included. Major shout out to the drama department. You all especially have become my family, and I am so grateful. CF is truly a school filled with wonderful, thoughtful people, and I am lucky to say that I have gone here. I am going to miss everyone very much, but I am going to continue to stay involved in any way I can,” Johnson said.

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