High-school student Carlie Steele is a student at Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA). She raised the idea of attending Connections Academy to her family as a way to better fit Carlie’s Kindness Campaign, the non-profit she founded at the age of 9. Her traditional bricks-and-mortar school was unable to provide the educational experiences she craved: an advanced curriculum that complimented her specific interests while allowing a flexible schedule.
“Connections Academy has connected me with the right people and opportunities to allow me to thrive as a student and build a successful pathway for my future,” said Carlie. “Currently, I am enrolled in business classes to help me prepare for college, develop my non-profit, and meet with staff that helps me spread the word about Carlie’s Kindness Campaign.
My favorite part about Connections Academy is being able to do school on the go. A big part of my life is the #BeingKindIsCool Assembly Tour, where I talk about spreading kindness in communities and the importance of volunteerism for philanthropic organizations, schools, teams, and other groups. With this project, many hours of an ‘average school day’ are spent on the road, so being able to do my schoolwork when and where I want is a huge help.”
Social interaction is a huge part of a teenager’s world, and Carlie learned that she didn’t have to give up on typical high-school experiences. “Initially, I was a bit concerned about making friends in a virtual environment. I know a concern of families considering Connections Academy is whether your student will have enough social interaction. But I realized I had nothing to worry about. Through Live Lesson sessions, where you have daily or weekly communication with your teachers and fellow classmates; in-person field trips, and events like prom and our spring celebration, I have made so many connections with my fellow classmates and have made tons of friends. I communicate with them on a regular basis.
Sometimes people assume that students in virtual education are not social and rarely leave their homes when the reality is that most of us are thriving socially. Connections Academy offers lots of academic and extracurricular options that are tailored to your needs, as well as your schedule so you can fit in all of your other commitments, like music, sports, and social activities.
Carlie is excited about her future. “Connections Academy provides me with the resources I need to succeed in high school and prepare for what comes next, whether that be college, trade, or any career. Professionally, my classes have taught me many skills including job interview tactics, communication styles, college application tools, and much more.
To anyone considering Connections Academy, I can say with total confidence that making the switch has dramatically improved my academic life, as well as my productivity. While being a student in online school, you are held accountable for your own education and completing your classes, which requires self-motivation, independence, and maturity. Connections Academy, while not right for everyone, can be tailored to fit all types of students, whether you are advanced, or need a little more time in your learning, it can make a world of difference for students of any age.
To learn more about Carlie’s Kindness Campaign, visit carlieskindnesscampaign.org and follow me on my journey of spreading kindness on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @carlieskindesscampaign. Keep Spreading Kindness!