2021 graduates who made it out in 2020

Early graduates save one semester

Sometimes, a leap of faith takes you in a different direction.


Sometimes, a leap of faith takes you in a different direction.

Bryanne Leech-Allen and Karen Contreras Flores are not your typical seniors. Actually, they haven’t been high school seniors since December when, six months before the rest of their class graduated, they completed their high school careers. While technically members of the Class of 2021, Leech-Allen and Contreras earned their degrees in 2020.


“I chose to graduate early so I could pursue my career as a nurse,” said Leech-Allen. “I made this decision in my junior year when I realized that I was ahead credits and I had the choice to get a head start in college.” She didn’t rush into going to classes, however, but instead planned to work two jobs – at Pizza Guys and at Huckleberry’s — until July and then head off to Solano’s nursing program after completing her pre-requisites.

Contreras was also looking at earning some extra money during her spring semester. “I wanted to save up as much as possible to make the financial portion of my future education easier,” she said. “I’d like to say I made the decision early on in my junior year, but I can’t really remember.” She couldn’t pursue her goal right away because she was waiting for a dental assistant program at Carrington College to open up, so she opted to use her time wisely.

While graduating a semester early can be challenging, it can also be quite rewarding. It does, however, take planning and working together with the counselors. Leech-Allen had recognized her bump in units because she was taking an additional class in her junior year. “I then took the opportunity to take a Cinema Class at Solano with my mother, which also put me ahead in credits,” she said. Her counselor pointed out the benefits to the additional classes, made her aware that if she took English 1 at Solano to make up for a second semester of English, she would be able to finish her other classes during the first semester, “which is what I did,” she said.

Contreras Flores

In the same manner, Contreras discovered that her 0 period classes while she was in pre-IB (International Baccalaureate) classes gave her many of the credits she would need and that, paired with a class at Solano Community College, helped her prepare for her last semester at Armijo. “I took two English classes and both Economics and American Government to finish off the requirements for graduation,” said Contreras. “That was pretty much it. Right before winter break, I became a graduate of the year 2020.”

Contreras admitted that she wasn’t invested in a lot of school activities because she was always changing her mind about her interests, but Leech-Allen was part of the Colorguard and Pageantry program, which is associated with the band. “We perform in parades and in winter events,” she said.

“Graduating early can open many doors for you,” said Leech-Allen. “It can also get you away from all of the high school drama that goes on.” Contreras also recommends it. “It feels great to be able to say you finished early and to be able to accomplish such a goal in less time than planned,” she said, but strongly suggested a conversation with the counselors “so it doesn’t get confusing. Ask questions, as many as you have! It’s important to know what’s happening.”

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