Senior Exemption presents students with the oppurtunity to be excused from their final exams



Senior Exemption is a chance for students to not only be excused from exams but also reward themselves.

When history teacher Kyle Carhart first heard about senior exemption, he was unsure as to what it entailed for students, simply because it was never a policy that was enacted when he was a high school student.  

“When I went to school here, [Senior Exemption] was not a thing,” Carhart said. “I don’t remember people being able to forgo exams as a senior, and I was a new teacher at the high school before that, so it was a new idea to me in its entirety.”

For the people who don’t know, a couple of years ago, FHC implemented the senior exemption policy as a chance for students to be excused from their exams in their last semester of high school. To qualify, seniors must have an 85% or higher in the class, no unexcused absences, less than two tardies, and no record of school suspension, probation, or violation of the code of conduct. 

Although Carhart never got to experience this as a high schooler, he sees this as a privilege for students to be able to reward themselves after all of the hard work they did during their high school career. 

“It’s an opportunity for seniors to build up credibility over the course of the semester,” Carhart said. “Once they come out to the end of their senior year, they’re given an opportunity to forgo their senior year final exams.” 

Even though this advantage allows seniors to have a more peaceful end to their school year, being exempt from exams does not come without its challenges. Carhart sees a lot of benefits to this. 

“I do like the idea behind it,” Carhart said. “For [seniors] to be given the grace of being able to not take a final exam [is] a reward of not having to concern themselves with some of the stresses and responsibilities that go with [it]. 

On the other hand, from the perspective of students such as senior Allison Kelly, who’s had siblings go through the same process, she finds value in being a part of this experience, because it allows the graduating class to have their moment to shine in the spotlight. 

As a junior, having senior friends graduate and be done, [made me] wish I was there. But I think [senior exemption] gives freshmen, sophomores and juniors something to look forward to and to keep trying [their hardest at school].

— Allison Kelly

“It feels like we have priority and it feels very special that only we have it,” Allison said. “I feel like our staff, [such as] Mr. Passinault and all the counselors, are making an effort with senior exemption to prioritize the seniors more since it’s our last year [of high school]. ” 

Even though only seniors are given the opportunity to be excused from exams, one question still remains: why aren’t the other grade levels excused as well? 

“As a junior, having senior friends graduate and be done, [made me] wish I was there,” Allison said. “But I think [senior exemption] gives freshmen, sophomores, and juniors something to look forward to and to keep trying [their hardest at school].”

Despite the perks that come with being able to miss out on exams, there are also some potential downsides to participating in it—one of them being how AP classes will factor into the equation. 

For example, senior Daniel Wang, who is taking five AP classes, actually finds more significance in taking the AP exam to gain college credit rather than trying to get dismissed from his regular exams in school. 

“I take a lot of AP classes,” Daniel said. “So the final exam in that aspect for the school doesn’t hugely apply to me since I started to take the exams. 

Although senior exemption doesn’t really provide much of an advantage for Daniel, on the flip side, he does actually see a lot of advantages for being able to qualify for it. 

“Senior exemptions are kind of like a way for seniors to keep their grades up before the final exam,” Daniel said. “It’s a good send-off for seniors because nobody wants to have your last high school memory be taking a final exam for a math class” 

But regardless of if students qualify for senior exemption, one thing is for sure: being presented with the opportunity is an enticing experience within itself. It’s a way of congratulating yourself for getting through high school. 

“[Seniors]  put themselves in a great position,” Carhart said. “I think it’s a suitable reward and it also could be that you’re leading them up there with the senioritis and the willingness and want to skip specific things and not come to class that also kind of holds them in place [and helps] hold them accountable. In theory, it is a good thing to see firsthand.”