This series, Class Acts of 2014, features inspiring online education graduates with promising futures and showcases how individualized, award-winning curriculum and technology enabled these students’ success.
For Texas Virtual Academy graduate Samantha, the last two years have been a whirlwind of activity, making her high school graduation quite a success story. This high-achieving student is on track to pursue her goal of becoming a pilot, along with balancing music, family, and social activities. She’s headed to the University of Houston with a full ride scholarship for Mechanical Engineering.
In our interview, Samantha shares her experience in online high school, how she achieved her goals, and some of her plans for the future:
Looking back, can you tell us why you chose online learning?
I wanted to stay at home, instead of attending public or private school, but I still needed teachers for every class to explain the concepts to me. I was homeschooled from 1st-8th grade, and when we got to subjects like geometry, my mom needed more help. We looked into TXVA, and we really liked what we saw. The curriculum is fantastic, and the teachers and staff are really great.
You started applying college pretty early on, can you tell us more about that?
Originally, my plan was to go into the military as a Navy pilot. I got a full ride scholarship to Texas A&M through the Navy ROTC program where I could go through the Corps of Cadets at A&M, come out as a Navy officer, and go into flight school. I wanted to go to the Naval Academy, and that scholarship was my back-up plan. In order to accomplish all of this, I had to apply early on. I ended up being medically disqualified for sleepwalking, of all things. I had also applied to the University of Houston for their ROTC scholarship, and because I had already submitted that application, I was able to compete for a full ride there.
What about the military interested you?
Sophomore year I decided I wanted to be a pilot, but I wanted to fly jets, and the only place you can do that is in the military. I joined an organization called the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary for the Unites States Air Force, for kids ages 12-18. Through the program, you are able to turn around and become a senior member. You are not obligated to join the military, but it is structured the same way, and I fell in love with it. I loved the structure, and the discipline. I was able to go to the Naval Academy for 5 days after my Junior year for their summer seminar program, and I absolutely fell in love with it, and I knew that was what I wanted to do.
What is your best memory from online school with K12?
Class connect times. That’s when you actually got facetime with your teacher, and you got to talk with the other students. What really helped me about that is that I was able to ask questions at any point in the lesson or lecture, and ask the teacher “Why is this the way it is?” Because of that, the teacher could answer right then and there. Even after class, the teachers would stay after to answer questions, or they would have tutorials. The teachers are always available. They’re there all the time. They’re on instant messenger all the time.
What skills do you think online education provided you with to prepare for your future?
Discipline, for sure. In online school, you have to have a schedule. There’s nobody there hanging over your head telling you to turn in your homework, so you have to have the discipline to wake up every morning, and not slack off. That’s helped me for my future because in college my parents aren’t going to be there to say “Okay, it’s time for school.” It really helped me to be organized.
Did you ever experience any issues as far as socialization is concerned?
No, I didn’t. Everyone asks me that question. I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. I am very involved in my church, I teach 1st grade on Wednesday nights, I rock climb, I do Crossfit, I do patrol where I am the commander of 50 Cadets, I play the piano, and I used to be a worship leader for a band in church, so I’ve never really had a problem with socialization. There are also a lot of co-ops in Houston that I used to do in my earlier high school years before things got really packed.
Wow, you’re pretty busy! Do you have any free time? How do you like to spend it?
After my sophomore year when I decided I wanted to go into the military, I pretty much spent most of my time studying for the SAT, and working out a lot. I’m really into music, too. I play the guitar, piano, and occasionally, I sing.
My family also owns a ranch, and we hunt outside of San Antonio. That takes up a lot of our time, and that was something else that was nice about online school because that gave us the opportunity to go out whenever we wanted to. During hunting season, which is August-January, we’re out there every other weekend. If you were a kid in a brick and mortar school you couldn’t leave on a Thursday morning and come back on a Sunday because you’d get behind. Because of K12 and TXVA, I was able to do that.
Do you have any brothers or sisters who use online education, too?
I do. My brother just finished his 9th grade year. He’s been doing it since 8th grade, and he plans on finishing high school through the program.
You have such a great story, Samantha, and we want to thank you again for sharing it. Is there anything else you want to share with us?
TXVA truly was amazing. K12 is amazing. If you want teachers that are there for you 24/7, then it’s the school for you. It truly has been the key to my success as a student as far as applying to colleges and pursuing my dream.
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