New Wildcat Release program replaces Honor Cards

Sophomore students socialize in the hallway before leaving for grade check early release.

Hunter Finerty

Sophomore students socialize in the hallway before leaving for grade check early release.

Hunter Finerty, Staff Reporter

For the past several years, students at  De Soto High School have looked forward to early release on Fridays. Whether it be as a result of grade check early release or Honor Card privileges, this weekly tradition is soon to face big changes.

At the beginning of the year, a group of Student Council members, teachers and administration met to discuss the changes to be made as a collective School Policy Committee. The committee decided that beginning Oct. 19, both of these programs will be replaced with the new Wildcat Release program.

“It [Wildcat Release] is on a weekly basis and rewards people that are in school and who have good grades so they get early release on Fridays,” said sophomore committee member Brent Smith.

This program will reset each week. As long as students have no D’s or F’s and haven’t missed any class that week, they will be eligible for Wildcat Release, granted they haven’t received any detentions, Friday school or other behavioral referrals during the week.

Smith feels this system is more fair than honor cards. In the honor card system, students became ineligible for honor card release for the entire semester if they were absent for more than 20 periods.

“We didn’t like that. Someone could be sick and they all of a sudden don’t have an honor card,” Smith said.

Physical Education teacher Junelle Woolery, who also served on the committee, also believes in the benefits of Wildcat Release.

“We tried to come up with the best thing that would allow the most students the best opportunity to earn that early release,” Woolery said.

She says that while she feels bad that seniors will no longer have the privilege of leaving seminar 10 minutes early each day, she agrees with Principal Sam Ruff that the best place for DHS students is in the classroom with DHS teachers.

      Ruff wants the Wildcat Release program to result in more students being allowed to consistently participate.

      “I also hope it will improve attendance and tardies and cause people to reflect a little bit more on their use of seminar time,” he said.

A similar aspect between the grade check system and the new Wildcat Release program is that closed Seminars will take place the day before early release.

     During these closed seminars, students will be completing lessons towards their Individual Plan of Study (IPS). Students will be using Career Cruising to help set up a future plan for life after DHS.

     “We are trying to help our students figure out what it is that they are interested in and what potential career options are out there for them,” Ruff said.

      Ruff says that he hopes IPS will help students choose wisely when selecting courses, as well as provide insight on what courses could be offered in the future.

      Some Seminars have completed the first IPS lesson plan. Those which have not will be doing so soon, as Wildcat Release begins this week, thus ending honor cards and grade check early release.