Seniors get a jump-start on their day


Anthony Francisco

Seniors Natalie DerAvanessian and Karla Solorzano work on the senior issue of the magazine in their seventh period class, Publications.

“I love not having a full schedule!” said senior Thomas Zohrabyan. “As a senior, you can take a minimum of five classes, which is amazing because you get to sleep, work and do other things with your time. Overall, it’s better because it’s less stress and you don’t have to stay at school for an extra hour.”

Being a senior in high school comes with some perks, one of which is having the freedom to choose between a schedule of five, six or seven classes. Zohrabyan chose to take six classes during his senior year and is one of the 185 seniors at Clark who does not have a seventh period. These students are able to leave at 1:25 p.m., as soon as fifth or sixth period is finished.

Tristan O’Donnell also does not have a seventh period and uses the extra time to his benefit. “The best thing about finishing school early is that you can get delicious lunch after school since you don’t have to stay until 3,” O’Donnell said.

There are also some seniors who have a late start and can come to school as late as 9:45 a.m., right when their second block class is starting. However, these students are fewer, with more seniors preferring to have an early start and finish school early rather than having a late start and finishing school at 3 p.m. Head Counselor Karine Turdjian said that there are only a dozen students, give or take a few, who have a late start this year. “We do our best to accommodate students’ wishes regarding their schedule, but it usually depends on which AP classes they are taking since some of the APs they request are only offered during certain periods,” Turdjian said.

The small group of students who have a late start are mainly comprised of students taking six classes and are also in ASB, Publications or Robotics, all of which are classes only offered during seventh period. Senior Karla Solorzano is one of the students in Publications who only has six classes and therefore comes to school at 9:45 instead of 8. “I hate having a late start because it doesn’t make a big difference in my schedule, but it does in my paycheck since I have to take Uber every other day,” Solorzano said. “I get an extra hour of sleep, but it’s better just to take five classes and come home early.”

Not everyone views having a late start as the worse counterpart to going home early. “I get to do my homework in the morning before my class starts, so having a late start helps me manage my time and get all of my homework done,” said Anthony Francisco, also a senior that has to stay for seventh period because of Publications.

The rest of the senior class, about 50 students, has a full schedule of seven classes. “This year, we have seen the greatest amount of seniors taking seven classes than in all of Clark’s history,” said counselor Susan Howe. “Typically, it has been only students in ASB, Publications or Robotics that take seven classes because they need to stay until seventh period. However, we have seen a trend in more and more students taking seven classes in order to boost their GPA and take more AP classes.”

Senior Natalie Deravanessian is one of the seniors who voluntarily chose to take seven classes because she wanted colleges to see that she was still working hard, even though it was her last year in high school. “I don’t see a point in going home early because I don’t have a job to rush to, and I wanted to show schools that although it’s senior year, I’m willing to stick to my schedule and not slack off. I kind of wish I did leave early, though, because I would be able to get a job and spend more time with my friends.”

Clark is unique in that students take seven classes as part of their regular schedule freshman through junior year. Many other high schools, such as Hoover High School and Glendale High School, only offer six classes. Since Clark offers a seventh class, students are able to accumulate credits easily and graduate with a number of credits well above the required amount of 220 credits. “Students build up so many credits throughout their four years of high school that to meet the requirement, they would probably only need to take two classes their senior year,” Turdjian said. “However, they need to take more for college acceptance requirements. Also, people with higher GPAs tend to take more classes.”

Not everyone looks forward to taking seven classes their senior year, however. Senior Nareh Abramian is very happy with her schedule of five classes. “I think it’s great because it spaces out the classes in such a way that you have time to do all your homework, and it doesn’t pile up,” Abramian said. “It also prepares you for college classes since they are timed and not just periods, so you feel more ready to go to a college or a university.”