ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Nearly two out of every three Albemarle County high school students are graduating with an advanced studies diploma. Some students say they do feel pressure to take a more rigorous course load with advanced classes to further their education or get a job.

“Having an advanced diploma isn't very uncommon here at [Albemarle High School]. We strive for excellence every day,” said senior Marquan Jones.

“It was definitely suggested by our counselors that we take those harder classes to get us ready for the next step,” student Decker McKean said.

“Sometimes there's lots of pressure, especially if you're an underclassman,” said AHS student Cooper Kramer. “You're signing up for your junior or senior classes, everyone's talking about it, and there's a lot of pressure to take the hardest, you know? Like how many are you taking? ‘I'm taking four [advanced placement classes], I'm taking five.’”

In 2018, 63% of county students graduated with an advanced diploma. That number increased by 1% this year. The division's on-time graduation rate is about 93%, which also outweighs the state average.

“I think it's just the standard every student at [Albemarle High School] wants to do something after high school, either going to college or taking those AP classes to do the best they can,” said McKean.

“I feel like people that take those classes are really set themselves up for the long run,” said Jones.

The school system also outweighs the state average for students completing higher education within 16 months of graduating. The state average is about 70% of students attending university, while Albemarle County schools fall around 75%.

“This is an education-driven county and school system, and so parents have expectations,” Albemarle County School Board Chair Jonno Alcaro said. “The kids have expectations of themselves to do the most they can do.”

More than 1,000 seniors are graduating this year from Albemarle County high schools.

John Paul Jones Arena will host the graduating ceremony for Albemarle High School Tuesday, June 4. That graduation will be video live-streamed at

05/29/2019 Release from Albemarle County Public Schools:

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) –The first of more than 1000 seniors in Albemarle County Public Schools will graduate tomorrow evening, when Murray High School opens graduation ceremonies for the division’s four high schools.

Murray’s graduation of 29 seniors begins at 6:00 tomorrow night at Burley Middle School. Also this week, some 265 Western Albemarle High School seniors will receive their diplomas at exercises on Friday night on the school’s athletic field, beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Both events will be video live-streamed. The Murray graduation can be accessed at: and the graduation ceremonies at Western by clicking on:

Next week, both Albemarle High School and Monticello will hold their graduations. Albemarle expects 456 seniors to receive diplomas at their ceremonies, which are taking place on Tuesday, June 4 at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena. Monticello is expecting a graduation class of 291 students the next evening, Wednesday, June 5. Both events begin at 7 p.m.

Albemarle’s graduation will be video live-streamed at: and Monticello High School’s ceremonies will be available at:

In all, the division’s graduation class is expected to include 1,041 students with 64 percent or 670 graduates receiving an Advanced Studies Diploma.

The division’s current on-time graduation rate of 92.7 percent exceeds state and national averages and has surpassed Virginia’s rate for every one of the 11 years since the on-time measurement was established. The rate generally refers to students who graduate within four years of entering ninth grade. On-time graduation rates for all school divisions in Virginia are not finalized by the state department of education until the fall.

The statewide average for students who graduate with an advanced studies diploma, which signify the most rigorous academic course standards, is 52 percent. Albemarle’s preliminary number this year of 64 percent is a slight increase from 63 percent a year ago.

This also is the second year that high school diplomas will carry designations for academic achievement. Students who earn an unweighted grade point average of 3.8 or higher will graduate summa cum laude; students whose unweighted grade point average is between 3.5 and 3.7 will graduate magna cum laude and students whose unweighted grade point average is between 3.0 and 3.4 will graduate cum laude.

Also, last week the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) held their annual completer ceremony honoring 186 students. Among the notable accomplishments were the 1,825 college credits gained by 161 students and the 130 students who earned the Virginia Workforce Readiness credential.