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Important exam for sophomores this week at Sunnyside High School

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Victor Ruiz holds up a poster adorned with names of sophomores who are scheduled to take the High School Proficiency Exam, or HSPE, this year. "Their success reflects on us," said leadership student Veronica Rodriguez. "We want them to succeed."
   

The names of every sophomore at Sunnyside High School are printed on posters that adorn the school's hallways this week, encouraging the students as they take the crucial High School Proficiency Exam, better known as the HSPE.

The exam is part of graduation requirements for all students in Washington state, making it one of the most critical tests the students must take in a school career filled with standardized tests.

The high school has done everything it can to prepare students for the test, according to librarian Karen Hutchinson, and now it's time for students and their parents to step up.

"The main thing is to make sure your child is here," said Hutchinson. The test will be administered for three days, Tuesday through Thursday, and students need to attend every day.

Students also need to be on time. The test starts promptly at 7:35 a.m. and all students taking the test should arrive before then to have time to use the restroom, find their testing room and settle.

Leadership students at the high school are doing all they can to boost the spirits of the students taking the test. The posters are only a small portion of their efforts.

On Wednesday, March 7, the students put on a skit for those taking the test. They acted out test day, contrasting a well-prepared student with one who wasn't ready for the test while giving tips on how to prepare.

According to leadership student James Salazar, the advice is more likely to sink in through the skit than just hearing or reading those tips.

The leadership students know the pressure the exam puts on their fellows. When asked how she felt after taking the test, Victoria Garcia described it as a sigh of relief.

"I knew I only had to finish my senior project," she said. "A weight was lifted."

The students had more advice for those taking the exam, including the standard tips for any big test.

"Get a full night's sleep, get to school on time, eat before the test," said Salazar. "Try not to be too stressed."

"Encourage each other," said Victor Ruiz. "Make sure you eat before the test. And during snack time."

"Get here early," said Veronica Rodriguez. "And text your friends before the test to support them."

"Turn off your phone before the test," Garcia added. The others chimed in with the suggestion to leave their phones in their bags. They said being caught with the phone will get a student kicked out.

"You don't need the distraction," said Ruiz. "And neither do the other students taking the test."

Garcia had an unusual suggestion for getting prepared.

"Chew some gum in the morning," she said. "It'll get your muscles moving and help you wake up."

Although students who are not taking the test are not required to be at the school until 10:30 a.m. on the test days, many of them plan on showing up early to cheer on their fellow students.

"We want to inspire them," said Rodriguez. "We want them to do well."

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