Hailey Eckstein

ORCA student Lovey at a computer

Hailey Eckstein is a high school school student at Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA). She started with ORCA in kindergarten and has been excelling ever since. Hailey’s mom, Rozanna, shares her story below.

“We first heard about Oregon Connections Academy from my mother-in-law, who was a bus driver for the local school district. We looked into many forms of schooling including charter, bricks-and-mortar, private, and homeschooling before deciding that Connections Academy was the choice we wanted to make. Education is a big thing in our family, and ORCA offered everything we wanted.

Being able to work on a subject at your own pace is a very good thing. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than normal on some lessons, and with ORCA’s flexible scheduling, Hailey doesn't have to rush through them. We also love camping, so with this school, she doesn't have to miss classes. We find Wi-Fi when possible, take textbooks along, and have no problem doing schoolwork in the camper or around the campfire. Hailey thinks of it as a field trip—there's nothing like sitting on the beach and studying!

Since ORCA is a public virtual school, I was scared at first. I didn't think I would be able to do it and worried about having help from the teachers. However, the teachers, books, and staff are helpful. We always ask Hailey if she wants to attend ORCA again the next year and she always says, “yes.” She is very happy that we give her the choice, and as a parent, I am happy that she enjoys this school. From the very beginning, we valued Hailey's input because it's very important that we all invest in Hailey's education.

So many kids don't want to go to school, and even though Hailey has those moments too, most of the time she is ready to go and is happy to do it. My husband and I are thankful to have this choice. We feel this is the best fit for our family.'

Hailey says, 'I love Oregon Connections Academy and the fact that I can make my own schedule. When I get done with my schoolwork, I can go do other things like play on my family’s farm with Link, my 600 pound pet pig.”

She is very happy that we give her the choice and, as a parent, I am happy that she enjoys this school.
— Hailey's mom