Honor Student Not Allowed to Graduate

Christopher Martin
Christopher Martin

A high school senior, an honor student, will not be allowed to graduate from Beach High School. He didn't pass the state's high school graduation test. It doesn't matter that he has 3.2 GPA and scored a 1020 on his SAT, above-average marks.

Beach High's graduation ceremony is something senior Christopher Martin will have to watch from the bleachers.

"It was really disappointing," he said.

His aunt, Lynda James, is upset too. "This should've been something they knew before we bought the cap and gown before they paid their senior dues."

Sam Light works for the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education, and he says every year at this time he's flooded with calls from upset relatives. "First question I always ask is how many times did they take the test and the second question is, did they attend the tutorials and all the other offerings the high schools offer the students?"

Every school offers the test to students five times. Christopher took the test all five times and attended the tutorials. When he got his final test scores, he found out he didn't pass the science portion. He missed it by three points, one question.

He's asking the board to recalculate his score. And if he has to, he'll retake the test in July. But whatever the outcome, he still wants to be able to march at his graduation on June 1.

"I completed 13 years of school, worked hard, studied hard, I'm a straight honor roll student, I don't see how one test can stop me," he said.

It's not going to stop him from going to college. He's already been accepted based on his GPA and SAT scores. But he still wants that high school diploma.

The science portion of the test that Christopher failed is actually the hardest part for students to pass, says the board of education. In fact, they are actually reevaluating the science curriculum at the high schools to help future student with the test. But that won't do Christopher any good.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com