Tales of the non-traditional

The experience of these high school students is repeated here every semester.  We always have students whose first visit to campus is for graduation rehearsal--or graduation itself.  By Lisa Pemberton writing in The Seattle Times.

Education Online classmates to meet at graduation Seattle Times Newspaper
About 275 Washington teens will receive their diplomas and meet their classmates face to face for the first time at a graduation ceremony Saturday at Bellevue College.

Insight School of Washington's class of 2011 includes scores of Puget Sound-area teens; among them are valedictorian Spencer Smith, 18, and graduation speaker Jessica Dudley, both of Olympia.

Dudley, 17, divided her time between Olympia and Indonesia, going to school online and from across the globe while traveling with her father. She volunteered for the Indonesian Red Cross and headed up Insight's leadership club. She's hoping to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.

"I think that my virtual high-school experience has allowed me to work at my own pace," Dudley said in an email. "It has allowed me to take real time to grip and understand difficult problems and subjects while still being able to race through any subjects or topics ... already within my understanding."

Smith is a national gymnastics competitor, and the flexibility of online school allowed him to train to compete in the USA Gymnastic Open Championships. He plans to attend the University of Minnesota, school officials say.

Insight School of Washington is a tuition-free online public high school that was launched in September 2006. It is governed by the Quillayute Valley School District in Forks.

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