Students strive for excellence through Honors Program

 Nathan Johnson, sophomore at South Lancaster Academy.

Nathan Johnson, sophomore at South Lancaster Academy.

Sophomore Nathan Johnson is glad to see honors options available at SLA. His class is the first to be able to participate in the newly established Honors Program for academy students.

“Honors is a good plus,” said Nathan. “I’m happy Mr. Lambert brought it to the table--that added spice.”  

Nathan plans to major in biomedicine in college with the intention of going on to medical school. He joins the high percentage of our seniors who choose to pursue higher education. 96 percent of our graduates last year planned to attend college and we want to make sure they are not just prepared for advanced coursework, but that they can reach their highest potential. SLA has instituted a new Honors Program to aid students gaining acceptance to the college of their choice, increasing the odds of getting scholarships, strengthening their critical thinking skills and deepening their knowledge base.

SLA has two new choices in the Honors Program for high achieving students:honors diploma and honors coursework.

To graduate with an honors diploma, the student must take 29.25 credit hours and earn a 3.5 GPA. This distinction is offered as well as two other types of diplomas at SLA. There is a general diploma that meets the minimum requirements to graduate. The general diploma requires 24.75 credits with a 2.0 GPA. The College Preparatory diploma, for students planning on attending college, requires 28.25 credits with a 2.5 GPA.

The honors coursework involves additional assignments for grades 9 to 12 with an emphasis on exploring the subject matter more thoroughly to provide greater breadth and more enrichment. For each chapter or unit in a semester, there is an extension unit specifically for honors students to complete. These units challenge higher-order thinking skills and cause the student to show a higher level of mastery than students in the standard course.

Students choosing to earn an honors diploma must complete the honors assignments in at least 50 percent of their classes with at least half being done in their junior and senior years. That means a student can choose to do honors in math and science all four years, or focus on doing honors in social studies and language arts instead. A student who didn’t choose to do honors assignments in their freshman or sophomore years could complete honors assignments in all subjects in the junior and senior years.

For students unsure whether they want to tackle honors assignments, Nathan advises, “Test it out, see how you like it. If you find it’s too much work, you can drop it.”

“I like the feeling of accomplishment I have when I see the honors distinction on my transcript,” said Nathan.