Online Graduation Shows Many Possibilities

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By Lisa Garcia; Provost Academy Colorado
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At any high school graduation, students have many stories about their journeys towards getting their caps and gowns. When it is an online high school, often times the stories are about teens who never thought they would graduate.

“Being a teen mom put a lot of stress on me and many times I thought about just quitting school and going the easy route,” said Bethany Snow, a senior at Provost Academy, an online public charter high school based in Greenwood Village.

Snow, like many teenage moms, knows it can be challenging to balance school and parenthood.

“But, the staff at Provost really helped me realize what the best choice is for my son,” said Snow.

She says the flexibility of online learning is big factor for teenage mothers.

Anaya Valero agrees. She is also a teen mom graduating this spring from an online high school. Valero says the flexibility helped her accelerate.

“I chose to attend an online school because I’ve always been faster paced in regular school and I always had to wait for the class to catch up,” said Valero. “With online, I’m on my own pace and schedule.”

But, the self-paced learning model is not just for students taking care of young children. Billy Waller is a competitive freestyle skier. He says being at an online school opened up the world of sports for him.

“I chose to do online school completely for skiing,” said Waller. “Last year, it allowed me to ski four days a week.”

Other students like Waller who need online schools are actors, performers, or dancers who travel a lot for their craft.

“There would be no possible way to accomplish this without online school,” said Waller.

Valero says being able to take care of her toddler while working on school from home is helping her realize that no matter what challenges students may face, they can graduate – even ahead of schedule.

“Finishing school a year early is a huge accomplishment for me with a baby,” said Valero. “I’m also proud to knock down the world’s stereotypes of teen moms who don’t finish school who go on government assistance. To God’s grace, I have achieved way more than anyone would have imagined and yet more to come.”

If you ask students like Valero and Snow, they say without online school, there may have been no school at all.

“I thank (Provost Academy) so much for pushing me and encouraging me to do my best,” said Snow. “Now, I am graduating because of them.”

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