The hallways are filled with endless faces; some you know, and some you do not. One of those smiling faces is junior Olivia Cook. Although Cook is an exceptional student, she is not your ordinary junior; sure, she has a job, works hard in class, but what makes her stand out from the rest?
Cook is a 17-year-old junior here at Lebanon High School. She works hard, maintains honor roll, and keeps a smile on her face while she does it. When school gets tough, Cook still manages to keep her responsibilities outside of school in check.
“Outside of school I mainly work as a cashier at Kroger, but I am also involved in the Comedy Sports Club which is run by Ms. Becker. This year I also decided to get involved in the Spring Play, Peter Pan,” said Cook.
She likes to handle challenges head on, yet one of those challenges would be the biggest decision of her high school career; graduating a year early.
“I have always known what I have wanted to do in life, I am more so a ‘go-with-the-flow’ person. When I realized I was eligible to graduate a year early I just wanted to leap for it. It is not necessarily about wanting to grow up fast or to get out of school faster, I just genuinely wanted to go for it since I was able to,” said Cook.
“The conversation that first sparked my interest in early graduation actually started out as a joke. My mom was talking to me about my grades, and I jokingly mentioned the idea of graduating early. She ended up taking the conversation seriously and we then began conversing with my counselor about the possibility of graduating early,” said Cook.
She understood from the moment she made the decision that it would be challenging. Not only did she have to worry about applying to colleges early, she had to begin thinking about taking the required senior level classes as a junior.
“Over the summer I took Government, and then first semester of my junior year I had to take Economics on top of my United States History Class. I made sure I had a study hall both semester as I knew I would be overloaded with homework and tests. Other than that, all of my other credits have come from my previous years,” said Cook.
Although Cook decided to graduate with the 2018 class, she technically is not classified as a Senior until the last day of school.
“The only interaction I have had with the senior class was in my economics class. I am honestly not bothered about missing out on some of the senior activities. It is not ideal to have to stay at the school for lunch, but it does save me money and I can still enjoy lunch with my friends. I knew going into this that I would be unable to go out for lunch, so it was not a surprise to me. Missing out on senior field trip kind of upset me, but I am not too heartbroken over it,” Cook said.
Since Cook is not considered to be a senior until the last day of school, she only gets to participate in last walk and graduation. Senior Camp Out is still up in the air, but Cook is hoping she will be able to go and socialize with the Class of 2018.
College became a big topic in Cook’s household ever since she made the decision to graduate a year early.
“I have already been accepted and enrolled at Indiana University. I plan to double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and then I also plan to minor in Sociology,” said Cook.
Her final words to us were, “If I was able to give one word of advice to anyone wanting to go after something, but they are too scared to do it, I would say to go for it. Go through all of your options, but in the end if it is something you really want to do, work as hard as you can and you will be able to achieve it.”