Class of 2021 Early Graduates


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the end of the second trimester saw many seniors in the Class of 2021 graduating early.


One such graduate was Tyler Olcese (12), formerly a writer and editor for the Torch, who wrote, “I didn’t decide to graduate early until Trimester 2 started, as I realized that all of my classes in Trimester 3 were electives except for a class that I could take during an open period in Trimester 2, which I did.”


The shift to virtual learning came as a difficult transition for some, especially with the lack of extracurricular activities and social interaction.


Olcese wrote, “Had we been in school this year, I probably would not have decided to graduate early, as I would have enjoyed taking those electives in person.”


Another common issue for students has been motivation.


He wrote, “When I didn’t feel as motivated, it was hard to retain information, and I felt really sluggish and tired most of the time. I do pretty well when I’m working by myself, but I’ve always enjoyed working in groups more, so it was a little difficult to push myself to do the work if I wasn’t able to talk with other people and get their perspective on things, especially when I had ideas that I really wanted to share.”


Going forward, Olcese plans to attend Las Positas before transferring to a four year university. He has also picked up a few hobbies in his free time.


He wrote, “I’m still a part of a few clubs and I’m leading the meetings for one of them, so that’s been keeping me busy. I’ve also been working on a few creative writing projects and this is going to sound weird, but I’m starting an eBay account to sell vintage Peanuts Gang memorabilia that my great-aunt has been collecting.”


Atticus Cummings (12) also graduated early. His graduation decision came during the second trimester, after finals.


Like Olcese, Cummings said that distance learning proved challenging to maintain motivation.


Cummings said, “I definitely am not great with distance learning, I did a lot better previously with in-person school. I don’t know how I would have done in hybrid, it’s a lot harder to focus and stay motivated.”


This fall, Cummings is planning to attend University of California, Los Angeles to study mechanical engineering. For the time being, however, Cummings hopes to spend his time working.


Another early graduate is Alannah Roberts (12). Like Olcese and Cummings, Roberts did not enter the school year planning to finish school early.


Roberts wrote, “By the end of my first trimester, I became fed up with the way online learning was being dealt with. When I found out I could graduate early, I jumped on the chance because school was no longer enjoyable for me and it really was taking a toll on my mental health.”


With the time off from school, Roberts has been working as a private tutor, crossfit instructor, and babysitter. She plans to major in chemistry at Texas A&M University in the fall, and eventually go through medical school to become an anesthesiologist.


This year’s senior class has faced many difficulties, but those who have already graduated are continuing on to a new chapter in their education and life.