In the USA school is compulsory until 18 years. Most part of pupils goes to the public school and about 17% is educated in private schools. The school system varies from state to state, but the main one is the grades system: it consists of twelve grades which students have to attend. Children begin Elementary School at about 6 and they finish it at 12, and next they have to go to Junior High School (or Intermediate School), which finishes at 14. Next students begin High School, where they have to study a lot of subjects, including foreign languages, economics and business studies.
In most states High School lasts nine months: students start school at 9 or 9.30 a.m. and they finish at 2.30 or 3 p.m. They don’t have to wear an uniform and they can do many after-school activities, like clubs, music, drama or sports.
At the end of High School students receive a High School graduation certificate, which is the key to a reasonable job, a place at university or vocational training. The day of graduation is very special: there’s a ceremony in the school when certificates are presented to each student, and in the evening there is a dance, called the senior prom. At the end of twelfth grade, the class prepares a High School year book, which contains a photo and description of every member of the class.