Mar. 24, 2017

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Kalamazoo, MI

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Est. 1877

Student Life

Pursuing Passions: Early Graduation Unlocks Opportunities

Sarah Werner K’16 leads new students through nature on LandSea (Photo Courtesy of Sarah Werner)
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For some students, graduation is the final involuntary push into adulthood. A big scary world lies beyond the four years at 1200 Academy, a world that to some seems so far off.

But for a select few students, graduation actually can’t come any sooner.

Having already completed or nearing completion of all graduation requirements, Sarah Werner K’16, Chiara Sarter K’16, and Graham Key K’16 are three students from this select group that will soon be taking their last leap into the world earlier than expected.

With ten K quarters under her belt, Sarah Werner will soon be marching off into the wilderness to attend to her adoration of the outdoors one quarter early.

“It was so empowering to realize the things that I was capable of,” Werner described as she reflected on her first LandSea expedition, the one on which she uncovered her love of the outdoors and “proved her [doubtful mother] wrong.”

Werner is pursuing a career in outdoor education. Whether her future will involve climbing or rescuing, logistical coordination, recreation, or teaching is something she’ll leave for the trail to decide.

Is Werner the next Jory Horner, Director of Outdoor Programs?

“Honestly that’s my dream,” Werner promptly replied, “but for now it’s just a waiting game.”

Meanwhile, Sarter and Key are graduating this spring with the class of 2016 after just three years in college.

Sarter realized that she could graduate this spring with her biology major if she didn’t go on study abroad. Having already taken a gap year before starting college to explore parts of the world, Sarter “didn’t feel as if [she] was missing out on an experience.”

“K does a good job at introducing students to variety but lacks depth,” Sarter mentioned as she explained her search for specialization. Sarter’s Art Senior Individualized Project has enabled her to more seriously pursue a career in art, and so an early graduation will give her time to develop and market herself as an artist.

“Perhaps I’ll follow biological illustration, but for now I need to be contacting art galleries,” she said as she spoke of her future plans.

Key, also forfeiting a study abroad program for early graduation with a History major and Political Science minor “wanted a gap year to figure out what to do.” Key, an avid writer and playwright wants “time to write and travel.”

“I want to write the second act to a play I wrote,” Key explained, “and it would be spectacular if my former high school could perform it.”

In the years after, Key expects to become heavily involved with urban planning. Key already has arrangements with a real estate agency.

“I’m fascinated as to how institutions structure and use space,” Key told of his interest, and touching on Detroit’s future, “I want to be part of the solution.”

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