K12 Student Heads to West Point

Thanks to his focus, determination, and online education, Jacob H. found himself with terrific college options this month.

But in the end, it was no contest for the Bay Virtual Instruction Program of Florida student, who had accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

photo of Jacob
Jacob H.

“I always wanted to be in the military and no other school can give me that type of training in terms of leadership or knowledge about the military,” says Jacob, who turned down an Air Force ROTC scholarship as well as scholarships worth more than $52,000 from both the University of South Carolina and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Although he’s interested in flying, Jacob plans to study mechanical engineering.

Not surprisingly, Jacob focused on honor courses in math and science throughout his K12 high school career.

“Jacob really stands out because of his drive and determination,” says his math teacher, Cara Reddoch. “He has been working his entire high school career to ensure his acceptance into West Point.”

“K12 gave him a more flexible schedule, enabling him to participate in all the activities needed to take part in the admission process, which required a campus tour, fitness exam, medical exam and to secure Congressional nominations,” Reddoch explains. “With K12, his classroom can be wherever he is, and he can complete his lessons on time rather than having to miss multiple days of school to accommodate the necessary travel.”

Jacob found his advanced placement classes to be challenging. His ability to pace himself helped him become an exceptional achiever.

“Calculus was probably the hardest,” he says. “But the best thing about being in K12 is that you can work at your own pace. Instead of having to face a new lesson each day, if you’re stuck, you can spend an extra day or two before moving on.”

At 18, Jacob is quite accustomed to moving on. With his father in the military, he has lived in six states and studied in both traditional and online settings.

It was while his family was living in Hawaii, and his younger brother was struggling in a traditional brick-and-mortar grammar school, that his parents realized that online schooling might be right for them.

“Their job, at that stage of life,  is to be a student—get the most they can out of school and prepare for life,” says Jacob’s mother, Lisa. “I wanted my kids to be well-educated and for Jacob’s brother, Isaac, it just wasn’t working out.

“He’d spend more time doing homework than anything else. When we pulled Isaac out of fourth grade, he tested at a third-grade level. When we saw what K12 did for his brother, that’s when we decided to do the same with Jacob.”

Jacob began his K12 curriculum as a sixth grader.

“It was just a good match for our family,” Lisa says. “The kids completed every lesson. We felt like when they were in public school, in no way were they learning everything they should be learning. Reading, for instance, was depressing. It was more reading about social engineering and less about classic literature.

“When Jacob started in K12, putting three sentences together was a struggle for him. Now, I look at the things he writes and I’m amazed at his development as a writer and as a reader. We felt like K12 covered the gaps in the curriculum.”

Barbara Kushner, Jacob’s current teacher in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, calls him a “meticulous student” and a “very willing student in the learning process.” She marvels at his vocabulary, attention to detail and ability to digest and dissect advanced reading material. She also believes that online learning helped unleash his potential.

“Sitting is a classroom probably would have turned him into a basket of bubblegum,” Kushner says. “Jacob is a student who needed to have the opportunity to either spend more time on a particular unit or be able to fly through something he found very easy. Allowing him the ability to work at his own pace has worked absolutely perfectly.

“AP (advanced placement) is really college-level material and that can be a struggle for some students. But our AP students are always willing to push the envelope, and it’s really glorious to see a student blossom.”

As much as math and science were in his wheelhouse and reading and writing became second nature, Jacob excelled in his expanded history and civics environment as well as his electives in marketing and economics.

“One of our economics projects was to create your own business,” he recalls. “For a time, I was really into collecting baseball cards, so I chose to create my own (virtual) baseball card shop where customers could buy in-person or online. I knew that experience would be helpful in preparing me for the business world.”

Whether the future brings a career in engineering, flying jets, employing his writing talents, or running his own business, Jacob’s teachers are convinced his educational base, combined with his drive, will make him highly successful.

“He’s not afraid to ask questions,” Reddoch says. “He shows great potential in his academic career and I believe will make an excellent mechanical engineer and cadet at West Point.”

Featured Image – West Point – The U.S. Military Academy / CC by 2.0

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