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So You Want to be a Honor Grad?

Posted Date: 09/08/2017

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New honor graduation requirements were made over the summer, and many students are wondering what the impact will be. The major changes in the requirements are taking either four AP classes or two AP classes and two concurrent college courses, meeting all smart core requirements, and having a composite ACT score of at least a 23 with at least a 19 on each of the four subtest categories.


Future honor graduates must have a GPA of 4.0 or higher for the title of Summa Cum Laude, a GPA of 3.75 to 3.9999 for the title of Magna Cum Laude and a GPA of 3.50 to 3.7499 for the title of Cum Laude.


Mrs. Melissa Kohl, high school counselor, provided more details about the main reasons why the central office wanted to change the honor graduation requirements.


The central office wanted to include Arkansas’s new, state-mandated test, the ACT, into the requirements, while giving students who attend college a greater chance to be honor graduates by allowing the option of taking two AP classes and two concurrent college courses instead of taking four AP classes.


Kohl also gave insight about the central office not wanting to change the honor graduation requirements after this year.


“It has been changed like the last three or four years, so I think they are really going to try and keep it. Not saying it would be impossible, but I think they would really like to keep it consistent, you know, not change it anymore because we had a lot of changes on them and that’s confusing,” Kohl stated.


What some students do not know is that the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020 have the option of either following the new changes for the classes of 2018 and beyond or following the honor graduation requirements of the class of 2017. The class of 2017 honor requirements differ from the class of 2018 and beyond since the class of 2017 was only required to take three AP classes.


Similar requirements between the two options are three of the four english classes, two of the three social studies classes, two of the three science classes, and two of the four mathematics classes all must be Pre-AP, AP, or an equivalent concurrent college course in order to be a honor graduate.


Both options require students to have two years of a foreign language class, and all the half credit units of oral communication, P.E., health and safety, fine arts, and six credits of electives. Students should have at least 24 credits overall as well.


Kohl stressed the minimum GPA requirement for both options.


“You do have to have a 3.5 GPA. We had a lot of students last year spinning their wheels, and trying to get to honor graduate. They have done everything in classwork, but their GPA was below a 3.5. It doesn’t matter if you do all of this stuff. If you have below a 3.5 GPA, you still won’t be a honor graduate,” Kohl asserted.


Given the two options to choose from, students can hopefully find relief on the subject of honor graduation requirements and not have to worry too much.


Additionally, all of the information stated concerning honor graduation requirements can be found on page 18 and 19 of the student handbook. Information on smart core can be found on page 14 and 15 of the student handbook also.



By: Erik Carter