Graduation Ceremony for State’s Leading Virtual Public School Held June 10th in Salem

Over 450 students expected to graduate from Oregon Connections Academy


Mill City (June 12, 2017) — “Congratulations to the Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) class of 2017!” said Allison Galvin, the school’s Executive Director. “We are so proud of our graduates’ accomplishments and look forward to their continued success. They will always be a member of the ORCA family.”

Oregon Connections Academy, the state’s leading tuition-free online public charter school, held an in-person commencement ceremony on Saturday June 10th at the State Fairgrounds Pavilion building.

A total of more than 450 seniors are expected to be part of this year’s graduating class, and 220 attended the commencement ceremony. This was the ninth annual graduation event for Oregon Connections Academy, which graduated 45 students in 2009 for the school’s first graduating class. ORCA serves around 4,000 students in grades K-12 across the state.

“It’s wonderful to watch this group of accomplished students, who live throughout Oregon attending school online, meet in person for their graduation ceremony,” explained Galvin. “It’s a time-honored tradition that we are thrilled to provide to families, an opportunity to recognize students’ academic successes which will now set the stage for the next chapter of their lives.”

During the commencement ceremony one of the keynote speakers was High School English Teacher Stephanie Imig from Portland. ORCA students voted on who they would like to see speak at graduation and out of the top three nominated teachers, Imig won by two votes. She is also an Academic Coach and School Culture Lead Teacher at the school.

“What amazes me most about these students is how many of them are already changing the world,” said Imig. “They have not waited to graduate from high school, or enter adulthood, or any other milestone that might signify that they are ready to do great things. They are doing great things right now. They are starting magazines, building schools, teaching horseback riding lessons, volunteering at hospitals...the list goes on. They are a graduating class brimming with inspiring stories; stories they have only just begun to tell and will only grow from here.”

Imig was Valedictorian at the College of Humanities when she graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Women’s Studies, before receiving her Master’s Degree in English Literature from Mills College in California. In the nine years Imig has taught at ORCA, she’s become one of the leaders in the school’s dual college credits program and initiated the Poetry Out Loud contest. In 2013 she received the American Pioneer of Teaching Award for Oregon and was runner up at the national level.

Among the Class of 2017 is a special group of digital pioneer students graduating from Oregon Connections Academy. Seven seniors who charted new ground for the virtual charter school were recognized as “Legacy Students” during the graduation ceremony. These seven graduates started with ORCA in kindergarten or first grade in 2005, the first year the school opened its virtual doors, and continued their education with Oregon Connections Academy for the past 12 years.

“Our online school affords students the personalized education they need, and it is so exciting to play a role in their achievements,” added Galvin. “There’s nothing more satisfying than watching our students succeed in the ways they had hoped, and for some, in ways they never thought they could.”

The total figures are still being tabulated for the class of 2017. However, it’s estimated that 55% of ORCA graduates plan to attend college, 31% are moving into the workforce, 8% are pursuing vocational training, 3% will join the military, and 3% have other plans for their future. Those who have higher education on their agenda have so far accumulated nearly $700,000 in total scholarships.

Enrollment is currently underway for ORCA’s 2017-2018 school year. Details about upcoming information sessions and other events including dates and locations is available online at: or by calling (800) 382–6010.

About Oregon Connections Academy
Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) is a tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable statewide online charter school that serves students in grades K–12. The school is authorized by the Santiam Canyon School District. All Oregon Connections Academy students participate in the award-winning national Connections Academy program that combines high-quality resources from leading publishers with cutting-edge yet easy-to-use technology and hands-on materials. Oregon Connections Academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere there is an Internet connection and with an innovative online school curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of Oregon-certified teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. Oregon Connections Academy is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), an accrediting division of AdvancED. For more information, call 800-382-6010, or visit