Drawing from life is rare for most high school students
Drawing from life is hands down the number one, absolutely essential thing to do that essentially all high school students fail to do.
This problem is so prominent, that drawing from direct observation is now the rare exception among high school art students. Just doing this one directive will distinguish your work from the crowd, and put you light years ahead of other students in terms of developing your drawing skills.
Beyond just standing apart from the thousands of other student who are copying from photos, drawing from life is an amazing, enriching experience that will provide the foundation for a strong drawing skills. Read this article that Prof Lieu wrote about the importance of drawing from direct observation, and about the bad drawing habits that develop as a result of drawing exclusively from photographs.