Deptford High School’s graduation ceremony will take place on June 16, and there’s one graduate who is likely saving the date.
Yukta Narayan stands out among the graduating class as being the only 2022 graduate to have completed high school in three years. When she started at Deptford, she made a schedule that contained no breaks but put her on a path to complete requirements early.
“Throughout freshman and sophomore year, I made sure to not have any free periods,” Narayan said. “Even with lunch, I had asked to replace it with a class that could give me more credits, while also checking off the list of state requirement classes to graduate.”
After discussing opportunities with her guidance counselor and realizing early graduation was feasible, Narayan went to work, going through the list of requirements one by one. Narayan’s mother Prachi supported her through the process and helped her daughter take the right steps.
“She showed interest in graduating early, and we sent the request at school through proper channels,” Prachi said. “She was interviewed by a committee and was allowed to pursue it, seeing her determination.”
Narayan’s motivation was about more than jumpstarting a career; she wanted to feel a sense of purpose, and putting full effort into her schoolwork made her feel like she belonged.
“All my life I struggled with mental illness while also trying to fit in,” she acknowledged. “No matter how hard I tried, I just felt so alone. The only thing that would keep me going or provide me with a feeling of comfort was knowing that I was good enough at school and academics.
“With the way I had been feeling and struggling, I honestly did not see a future for myself.”
That’s why Narayan became emotional when she heard from Deptford’s board of education that she was approved for early graduation.
“Nobody truly knows how encouraging and assuring it is to know that what you have worked so hard for is finally getting the expected results and outcome,” she noted.
Finishing high school in three years has not been accomplished by a Deptford High School student since 2008, according to school district communications coordinator Sal Randazzo.
“Satisfying all graduation requirements in three years is definitely a challenge, due to the condensed amount of time in which the course work was completed,” he explained. “What I think makes it really stand out in this case is the choice of courses over those three years, and the sustained quality of work produced in those courses.
“The district is very proud of Yukta for this achievement.”
Following graduation, Narayan plans to attend Oregon State University and double major in apparel design and business administration. That choice came from her personal interests in both business and the fashion industry.
As graduation nears, she is ready to take this next step in her academic career.
“Knowing that I excelled at academics throughout my life, I never doubted that I could do it,” Narayan said. “I finally put trust in myself and told myself I am worth it in every way possible.”