Age is just a number: students pay no mind


Jaycee Fitzgerald

Sophomore Solomon Biak uses his Chromebook to do his homework on March 9. Biak, soon turning 19, doesn’t feel any difference because of the age difference with his peers.

Jaycee Fitzgerald, Social Media Manager

Sophomore Solomon Biak, who is a refugee, says he decided to go into the 9th grade at age 17 because he wanted to expand his learning in the U.S. Now, Biak is 18-years-old and in the 10th grade.

“I had the opportunity to get more education, so even though I was much older, I decided to start high school anyways to better myself, ” Biak said.

Biak has an age gap of about two years compared to the others in his grade, since most sophomores in high school are 15 or 16. Similarly, sophomore Brittany Bryant, who started her sophomore year out at 14 years old, has an age gap of about a year between her and her peers.

However, Bryant and Biak feel that the age gaps don’t affect how their peers view them or how they view their peers. For the most part, Biak and Bryant say that they feel equal in comparison to their peers.

“I really just feel the same as them (her peers),” Bryant said. “I’m in the same types of classes as them, and I learn just as well as they do.”

Bryant does say that the only difference she feels because of the age gap is the activities her friends can do that she cannot. For example, she says many of her friends are getting their licenses and first cars, which is something she can’t do yet.

For Biak, he says that he feels no different than the students in his grade and that many do not even know how much older he is than them. However, he does feel that being older than one’s peers can affect some students.

“You know, it’s hard sometimes,” Biak said. “Some people who are older decide to just not go to school anymore because it’s hard for them to be the oldest but not know everything.”

Biak says that when he feels like giving up because of the challenges, he thinks about the goals he has for himself in the future and how he can’t accomplish them without an education. He says he stays in school to better himself, and he doesn’t plan to stop doing that anytime soon.

SHS graduate A Van, who was 21 years old when he graduated high school, felt the same as Biak when he was in high school. Van says he decided to stay in school even when he could drop out, so he could have a better life for himself and to help his community.

“I did it not just for me,” Van said. “I did it to help my community and my family. Now, I can help them by being able to teach them what they don’t know and translate for them.”

Van and Biak both believe that instead of feeling discouraged, students who face difficulties because of an age gap should keep working towards their goals.

“My best advice is don’t give up,” Van said. “Stay working towards your goals and stay in school no matter what. It will only help you succeed.”