Distinctive graduates of SHS: Vivian Ren and Nicholas Shkolnikov head to college a year early


Maya Duplik

Nicholas Shkolnikov and Vivian Ren will graduate SHS as juniors on May 25 with the class of 2017.

Maya Duplik, J1 Student

The years at high school for SHS seniors are coming to a close as they prepare to graduate and step into the adult world, but some students are able to graduate with three years of education instead of four. Juniors Vivian Ren and Nicholas Shkolnikov have completed their graduation requirements, and will be able to graduate at the end of this year with the class of 2017.

Ren has been accepted into the University of Southern California, and has said she is ecstatic to start college and begin an independent life.

“There is obviously a clear cut advantage to having that extra time to figure out what I want to do as well as allowing me to advance to where I want to be at a faster rate,” Ren said. “This will allow me to explore my options for the future, keeping me busy, and give me something to look forward to.”

Shkolnikov said he agrees that time is very important in life. As his dreams to become a doctor developed, the idea of graduating early appealed to him and became more of a reality.  

“Initially, I’ll go to Ohio State University and major in psychology,” Shkolnikov said. “Afterwards, I hope to go to medical school and hopefully become a neurologist. Medical school is long and hard and I feel like graduating early will just bring all of my dreams closer and just bring them to fruition faster.”

Ren said that she has always contemplated the idea of leaving school early but it was mainly a matter of timing, opportunity and getting help when she needed it.

“My guidance counselor, Mrs. Kinney,  really helped me a lot in this process,” Ren said. “I am also very thankful for my brother and my dad. The University of Southern California was always the college that I wanted to go to and my counselor really did help me prepare all the college applications as well as all the papers that I needed for that school. She really gave me so much encouragement, and pushed me to go for this opportunity.”

During his sophomore year Shkolnikov had a conversation with a  student who graduated early, which planted the idea in Shkolnikov’s mind. After figuring out a plan with Mr. Simms, his guidance counselor, his dream became reality.

“It really wasn’t even that hard because throughout high school I never had a study hall, so I basically had seven credits which added up to 21 credits at the end of my junior year,” Shkolnikov said. “The only thing I needed was English 12, which I decided to take through College Credit Plus. The only hard part about it was actually going through the process of sending in applications, and finishing all the paperwork for college. “

“Shkolnikov is a wonderful person, always willing to answer questions and probably one of my most attentive students,” said Anthony Sanson, the SHS AP Chemistry teacher. “He’s a very good communicator and always helps other students understand. He is one of my most hardworking students, and overall just a very mature person who has everything under control and put together.”

As Shkolnikov and Ren get ready to depart for college, they leave with a bit of advice, “I definitely think that a lot of people do have this potential to graduate early and begin their life,” Ren said. “All it requires is a little bit of hard work for a whole extra year, so I do think that if this is a dream of yours than you can achieve it.”