When Utah state Sen. Chris Buttars unveiled a cost-cutting measure this month that would have made the high school senior year optional, perhaps no one in the state Capitol Building was more surprised than 18-year-old Jake Trimble, who already opted out of the second half of senior year just weeks earlier.
He has spent the past month working at the Capitol as an unpaid intern for the state Democratic Party’s communications team, designing posters and writing scripts for legislators’ robocalls. Trimble graduated in January, one semester early, from the nearby Academy of Math Engineering and Science (AMES).
“I’m very happy to not be in high school anymore,” says Trimble, who proudly reports that he’s “not rotting in my parents’ basement.” Actually, when the legislative session ends next month, he’ll move on to another internship (this one paid) as a lab assistant at the University of Utah’s Orthopedic Center.
Trimble is part of a small but growing group of students — most of them academically advanced and, as a result, a tad restless — who are tinkering with their senior year. A few observers say the quiet experiment has the potential to reinvent high school altogether.