Jump starting service

Juniors graduate early to pursue aiding others

Juniors like Alexander Kuhn and Mikayla Gdanov are choosing to graduate early to pursue their academic careers. Kuhn and Gdanov both have a desire to help others and plan on doing so after graduating from high school. “I chose to graduate early because I wanted to get a jump start on college and my career pathway,” Gdanov said. “I also knew I could with my AP and honors classes that I have taken.”

Photo by Kaden Roth

Juniors like Alexander Kuhn and Mikayla Gdanov are choosing to graduate early to pursue their academic careers. Kuhn and Gdanov both have a desire to help others and plan on doing so after graduating from high school. “I chose to graduate early because I wanted to get a jump start on college and my career pathway,” Gdanov said. “I also knew I could with my AP and honors classes that I have taken.”

By Kaden Roth, Millard West High School

For seniors, the end of the year means closing the yearbook and looking toward what’s to come. Juniors like Mikayla Gdanvo and Alexander Kuhn find themselves in the same boat by choosing to graduate early. 

Graduating early is one way for juniors and seniors who have fulfilled their required classes to advance onto the next stage of their lives. For some students, this could be an early introduction to college or a trade school, but the route these juniors are choosing to take looks a little different. Kuhn is planning on enlisting as a combat medical specialist or 68W after getting his EMT certification. 

“I graduated early because my basic training shipment would not have gotten me back in time for the new school year, so it was the only way the school was willing to work with me and my enlistment,” Kuhn said. “I plan to go get my EMT certificate and then go to 68W AIT next summer because of my split training option through the Nebraska National Guard, and then I am off to the University of Nebraska Lincoln to hopefully join Reserve Officers Training Corps and get a nursing degree.”

Similarly, Gdanvo is using her prior internship with the FBI as a tool to guide her academic and career pathway. Gdanvo worked to better understand the work that is done in the field to better envision herself in the role.

“Since I was young I wanted to do something in the criminal justice field,” Gdnavo said. “Just recently I realized that my passion was psychology. So using that I looked into different fields and working with the FBI caught my eye because of SWAT and the fieldwork they do. After high school, I plan on going straight into college but I was waiting to justify my choice. The internship gives me primary knowledge about how my future would look based on the major I have chosen. It also looks good on applications.”

The internship served as a way for Gdanvo to test her previous knowledge and education while also getting hands-on experience in her desired career field. It provided a challenge that would help her grow as well as strengthen her resolve to further pursue her goal.

“I heard about the internship from my mom,” Gdanvo said. “The application process was very tedious because you have to go through a background check, pass a written test of basic laws, which classes from metro helped me with, and pass a physical training test. In the program, I train with the field agents and also work in crime scene investigations where I can travel to crime scenes and tag different clues and evidence.”

Graduating early and getting a jumpstart on their futures has its obvious benefits on paper, but from physical education teacher Rachel Nordhues, who has first-hand experience serving in the Army National Guard, the choice to serve others is invaluable.

“I was looking for the opportunity to grow as an individual and gain leadership experience,” Nordhues said. “Those who join the armed forces all have different experiences, which is what makes it so incredibly diverse and unique. The relationships you create and the different training that you go through open the doors to so many opportunities. You do things that you may have never thought you were capable of which gives you a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Regardless of experience level, the military is a great teacher to anyone who is willing to learn.”

Both Kuhn and Gdnavo are taking steps to better equip themselves to achieve their goals and by pursuing their education early their dedication and determination will surely serve them in the future.

This story was originally published on The Catalyst on May 17, 2022.