How to Graduate with Choir
Did you know you can graduate on the distinguished plan with a high GPA and still take a ton of Fine Arts classes? Consider the Arts and Humanities endorsement if you want to take a lot, but Fine Arts have a place in all of the endorsemets. Sometimes staying in choir helps you get multiple endorsements.
KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS
Let's be honest, graduation is the ultimate goal of your time at Lake Highlands. But if you just take what you have to and move on, you're missing out. If you have activities that are already important to you, you want to make sure that you are able to continue doing everything you love and still get all your credits in. At times, it can seem impossible, but with the right support and some will power, you can graduate at the top of your class and still do everything you love. In fact, most of our top 10 graduates every year are involved and in several activites other than what's required to graduate.
Class of 2017
I am a 2 year varsity Tennis Captain, Accapella Choir Student Director, Senior Class Treasurer, and a member of Red Cross Club, Mu Alpha Theta, NHS, Student Council, and Espree. I had to do some extra things to make choir fit in my schedule, but it was worth it. In junior high, I decided to wait till high school for foreign languages and just took health and common apps. After I completed two years of my language requirement in high school, I I had a freed up elective spot to be in Espree my junior year. In my senior year, I'm up at 7:25 AM every Monday and Wednesdayto take Government and Economics which frees up a class spot. During the day, I take AP English IV, Accapella choir, AP Biology, Student Leadership (as the senior class treasurer we have our own class period), Espree, AP BC Calculus, and Varsity Tennis. It can get tricky to keep choir in your schedule as you advance in High School, but there are ways you can do it.
Class of 2016
When I sat down to decide what classes I would take each year, choir was always the first on my schedule. But in order to prioritize my family, I had to make some sacrifices. For instance, I only took two credits of a foreign language instead of three and the summer before my senior year I took four online classes. I also found time for three years of Espree and Highlandettes. All in all, putting choir first enhanced my high school experience so much because I made deep friendships while learning important life lessons.
Class of 2016
For me, fitting choir into my High School career was a priority from the get-go, despite all the other activities I was involved in. Signing up for classes, I made sure that I always fit choir into my schedule, and in terms of time commitment, I would say choir actually benefited my weekly schedule instead of hurt it. Because I was in choir, I immediately had a network of friends around me, most of whom were in the same classes and could help with studying or homework. Most of the year, choir didn't require extra time outside of rehearsal (no homework!), and when it did, it was more convenient than other classes: you can practice all-region music in the shower! Socially, it fit into my life even more than any of my other classes: my deepest friendships were made through my time in Acapella and Espree. As we say in the Singing Cadets at Texas A&M, the friends you make in choir "will marry you and buy you."
Class of 2017
From elementary school choir, church choir, Youth Chorus of Greater Dallas, to the Lake Highlands Area Choirs, not being in choir was never an option for me! Starting in 7th grade, I told myself that I would always find a way to fit choir into my schedule, and I chose to do the recommended graduation plan instead of the distinguished plan to ensure a lighter class load. In high school, when the classes got harder and graduation requirements became more of a reality, I realized that I might not be able to be in A Cappella or Espree my senior year. I talked to my very understanding counselor and she proposed some “outside the box” ideas. I ended up not taking a fifth math class my senior year, because I already had the four required credits. I also took economics through RISD summer school, and did government online through Richland College which allowed me to receive high school and college credit. This year, I am a three-year member of Espree, a student in AP Music Theory, A Cappella Choir President, and Ms. G’s fourth period choir teacher aid! Four consecutive class periods in the choir room, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Class of 2016
Freshmen year was pretty difficult to figure out. I had to decide if I should take my required electives first and take choir some other year or find a better way. I decided to take health during summer, when I realized the sacrifice of time would help me get ahead. I also received my speech credit through another amazing program called AVID. Doing this allowed me to take four Pre-AP and AP courses, Spanish, AVID and Chorale. Most people would not sacrifice their summer, but it was worth it! Even when junior and senior year came around and I had two hours of Dual Credit two days per week, I managed to work it all out with just a few unconventional choices about how to spend my "free time". Trust me, you'll be much better off having invested this time.
The state has requirements for various levels of diploma. The district can have even more than that, if they choose. Some courses can be substituted in some circumstances. Colleges, whether in Texas or further out can require whatever they want. It's all about what will get you into the college that you want.
Always make sure your AP and DC classes will get you the college credit you want. Some schools require certain test scores and some even require that you take their courses regardless.
Visit Set Your Course and Graduation Plan Ideas for more information from RISD.
TALK TO PEOPLE THAT ARE IN THE KNOW
Your counselor is a great resource for discovering which classes are going to serve you best. If choir is a priority, make sure they know that and they can help you find a way to make it work.
Your choir directors have been through it and go through it vicariously with our graduates every year. We know how and we can help.
Communicate with your prospective university to make sure that those extra hard classes you're taking for college credit will transfer.