Texas High School Delays Graduation after Most of Senior Class Found Ineligible to Graduate

Marlin High School officials said the extra time will give seniors the chance to meet the necessary requirements.


A Texas high school pushed its graduation ceremony to next month after a only a handful of the 33 students were found eligible to graduate.

Officials at Marlin High School, in Marlin, Texas, told parents last week when only five students were eligible that the extra time will give seniors an opportunity to meet the requirements.

By Wednesday, 17 students were eligible, officials said during a meeting at the school on that day, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

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Most of the students were not eligible because of grades and attendance, the school said in a statement posted on Facebook announcing the Wednesday meeting.

"Our commitment to excellence remains unshaken," Marlin Independent School District Superintendent Darryl Henson said in the release. 

"We hold firm to our belief that every student in Marlin ISD can and will achieve their potential. We maintain high expectations, not as an imposition, but as a show of faith in our students' abilities," he said, adding that the students will be held "to the same high standard as any other student in Texas."

The school district, which is located southeast of Waco, said rescheduling the ceremony reflects its commitment to "maintain high academic expectation and ensure student success."

Moving the date of the ceremony is "seen as a testament to this commitment."

To be eligible to graduate, students must fulfill state-mandated class credits, pass final exams and have a 90% attendance record, the newspaper reported.

The school remarked that research shows regular school attendance is needed to give students time to learn and grow, noting it is a "powerful predictor to success."

"Our shift to a four-day school week is part of our effort to increase bell-to-bell instruction, increase student engagement during days school is in session, and keep absences from infringing on instructional time," Nikisha Edwards, Chief Academic Officer, said in the statement. 

"High standards serve as a benchmark for quality education and ensure that schools remain accountable for delivering high-quality instruction," Edwards said.

According to the Public School Review, Marlin placed in the bottom 50% of 8,079 Texas schools in overall test scores for the 2020-2021 school year.

The school of 219 students has a 92% minority enrollment.

Henson met with parents on Wednesday to explain the need to delay the graduation ceremony.

He said a couple of weeks is worth the wait.

"Everything that we have done and will continue to do for the foreseeable future will always be for the benefit of our children," Henson said, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. 

"So I'd rather have the emotions now. I want to have everyone be upset now. Instead of us calling you back in here in October or November or January of 2024 and telling you that your diploma is not worth the paper that is printed on," he said.

Henson said other meetings will be held in the next weeks to inform students whether they will graduate or what requirements they have to meet to do so.

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