Southwest expect 15 early graduates, highest in area

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cassville predicts 4, grade cards go out Jan. 9

Southwest High School anticipates 15 early graduates for 2014--2015, which is a four-year high.

All of these students have met the graduation requirements set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Southwest School Board, said Principal Tosha Watson. They also made plans after high school during their junior year, and they each wrote a letter to the school board asking for early graduation.

"At Southwest High School, we strive to provide an education that meets the needs of each individual student," Watson said. "It is our goal not to have a 'canned education' where everyone does the same program but to provide every student the best educational environment for their goals and situation."

Watson, who has been the principal since 2011, said the high school had seven early graduates her first year, three early graduates in 2012--13, and five early graduates the previous school year.

This year's early graduates, who finished their classes on Dec. 19, are Kassandra Barber, Jerod Black, Haleigh DeWitt, Michael Fletcher, Makenzie Harvey, Ashley Holliday, Brittney Holliday, Charity Labonte, Brittany Martin, Zachary Miles, Tiffany Norman, Mariah Peach, Brian Robinson, Bradley Sammarco and Sangelina Taylor.

Sammarco said he wanted to graduate before he enlisted into the U.S. Navy on Jan. 6.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm excited," he said.

His basic training is at the Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. Sammarco will then attend operations specialist class A school at Training Support Center in Great Lakes.

He became interested in the Navy around March, and he said his mom, Cathy Teague, is proud of him, but at the same time does not want him to go because his family is so close to home.

He has attended the Southwest School District since the fifth grade. His older brother, Corey Sammarco, and sisters, Kayla and April Sammarco, graduated from Southwest High School. His sister, Kristen Teague, also attends the district.

The early graduates are still allowed to come to prom, go on the senior trip and do any graduation ceremonies and graduate with the class, Watson said. Counting both December and May graduates, this year's graduating class could be 56, an increase of six graduates over last year.

Another area school district that has early graduates is Cassville.

The Cassville High School anticipates four early graduates, said Principal Jeff Swadley. Grade cards go out Jan. 9. The high school could potentially have about 150 graduates in May.

Exeter, Purdy and Wheaton school districts do not have any early graduates.

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