Rondeau skips way to educational success

Mckenzie Bohlig Photographer

November 5, 2016

“Grade skipping, also known as ‘green-shirting,’ used to be standard practice before other enriched academic options, such as gifted programs, became commonplace. Still, even with enrichment programs, some kids are better served by going up a grade,” reporter Sarah Rivera said. Junior Sophie Rondeau is an example of a student who skipped a grade and takes enriched academic classes.

Rondeau considers herself to be a junior and will be graduating with the class of 2018. However, she attends the University of Northwestern for PSEO for the first 3 hours of the day. When she gets back to high school, she takes senior classes. When Rondeau was in 7th grade, the decision was made that she would skip 8th grade classes, and instead take advanced freshman classes.

Being in classes with an older age group is intimidating. There are a lot of new people and not many familiar faces in class. Only some students would be comfortable with this. It takes someone very socially secure and confident to smoothly and successfully skip a grade.

Rondeau said, “Being in the class of 2017 for most of my classes wasn’t entirely different from my own grade, and most people didn’t even know I was younger until myself or someone else told them. But while I made a lot of great friends in the grade above me, my core group of friends now, is in my grade.” She added, “I wanted to skip 8th grade classes and since 7th grade is that friend group transition stage, it wasn’t that hard. I made a lot of new friends.”

I wanted to skip 8th grade classes and since 7th grade is that friend group transition stage, it wasn’t that hard. I made a lot of new friends.”

— Sophie Rondeau

Many students who take advanced classes in high school started out in the G.A.T.E (Gifted and Talented Education) program during elementary school. It allows students who have been identified as gifted and talented to learn at a pace more their speed and in an environment more suited to them. The program mostly focuses on math, though many students who were in it go into advanced classes for all subjects.

“In G.A.T.E. the classes are harder and the focus was mostly on math. G.A.T.E allowed me to skip 8th grade classes because we took advanced math courses. When I was in 7th grade I was excited about skipping 8th grade classes and since I was already taking advanced math classes, they decided to just have me take advanced everything,” Rondeau explained.

The work load that comes with taking advanced classes in the grade ahead is daunting. After hours of school, students then go home to more hours of homework and studying. Although for some students, it depends on the year of school and the teachers they have.

“Last year was my official junior year and the classes this year are easier than last year. They are just a lot of work, like, not very hard, but time-consuming,” Rondeau explained.

Along with multiple difficult classes, many advanced students also participate in numerous extracurricular activities. Some extracurriculars require preparation or work outside of school and the meetings, which takes up more of the student’s time.

“I am taking composition and stats, online health, physics, Concert orchestra and Spanish four,” Rondeau said. “I am in Speech and Debate, Young Life, NHS (although that’s hard because I go to Northwestern in the Mornings), Lacrosse, Math League and Con Amici,” Rondeau said.

With a multitude of out of school activities and schoolwork, many advanced students have no free time for fun or for sleep. Getting little to no hours of sleep is not healthy, although almost all students have gotten used to it.

“I am the type of person who thrives off of being stressed out. I am such a procrastinator, but I’m really good at getting all of my work done like 40 minutes before it’s due. I have gotten really good at all-nighters, like, really good. The first couple times I did them, the day after I was just dead, but now they don’t affect me. I don’t get that much sleep, but I don’t need it anymore, I have just gotten used to it,” Rondeau explained.

Rondeau is one of many students who take advanced classes and is involved in multiple extracurricular activities. It takes a great deal of hard work, dedication and self-confidence to go through high school with such a full schedule. Although in the end, the hours of sweat and lost sleep are worth it for Rondeau.

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