September 15, 2016


With hard work, high school can end early

ParadeJoe McIntyre/staff photographer

Sailor Tetreault, 16, stands on a bridge over the West Branch of the Tioughnioga River near her home in Homer while holding her Homer High School diploma Wednesday. Tetreault graduated in three years after doubling up on math, English and social studies classes, along with taking 11th- and 12th-grade classes in the same year.

Staff Reporter

HOMER — High school can be a tough, challenging time for some students, but through hard work and determination it is possible to graduate early.
Homer Superintendent of Schools Nancy Ruscio said there are students who do so almost every year.
Sixteen-year-old Sailor Tetreault is one of the latest to do so, graduating from Homer High School in three years earlier this year, versus the traditional four-year trek.
School always came easy for Tetreault, so she said shemade it her goal to finish early. To do so, she had no lunch break during school and doubled up on classes such as math, English and social studies. This included taking 11th-grade and 12th-grade classes in the same year.
She did not leave much time for herself after school either, as she worked at the Brewster House, a residence for senior citizens, serving those residents their food every evening.
And when she was home,she would help her single mother, Elizabeth Coggins, with watching her three younger siblings — she has six siblings in total, three older and three younger.
“During the weekdays, it was hard to see friends after school between homework and work,” Tetreault said. “But I would always take time on the weekend to spend time with them.”
However, when it came to informing her friends of her plan to end high school early, she kept it a secret.
“I kept it on the down low because I didn’t think they would take it well,” Tetreault said. “But my friends are excited for me. They’ve been a big help in providing support.”
During her time off from school, which would have been her senior year, Tetreault is focusing on preparing for college. She was able to get a head start while in high school by fitting a college credit math class in her schedule.
Tompkins Cortland Community College provides various concurrent enrollment courses, which allows high schoolstudents to take collegeclasses and earn collegecredit. With enough credits, many high school students have been able to earn their associate’s degree before they graduate, as well.
Tetreault said she would have liked to have taken more college credited courses if she had time, but she chose math because she wants to study business once she gets to college.
And once she gets to college she said the plan is to just focus on school and not try to rush through it.
Her goal is to enter some aspect of the food industry, possibly to do with baking, but she has not made a definitive decision on that yet. But Tetreault said she does plan on going for her master’s degree.
“I plan on staying in school as long as I can,” Tetreault said.
Her mother said Sailor is a hard worker and very committed to what she does. Coggins said she thinks Sailor gets her motivation from watching her mother deal with being a single mother, taking care of seven children.
“I tell her to get into a career she is going to like and make good money doing,” Coggins said.
Tetreault has already received her diploma, but will walk the stage with her class next year. When she does, she will have already completed a semester of college. By finishing high school early, it allows her to start college earlier, too. She has not picked a college, yet, but plans on starting college in January.
“I’m excited for the future,” Tetreault said.
Not every school district sees students graduating high school early. Cortland Superintendent of Schools Michael Hoose said it is a fairly rare occurrence in the district, but one or two students will accomplish the task every now and then.
Through hard work and determination, and having a clear goal in mind like Tetreault, finishing high school early ispossible.

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