After the traumatic separation from my biological parents at age 6, I found it difficult to think or function normally. I struggled throughout my school life in the brick and mortar environment (public and private) because I had experienced PTSD due to severe trauma in my childhood. My parents chose to educate me through a virtual public high school because it had a high-quality curriculum with structure and strong parent-teacher support built into the system. At first, the thought of sitting in front of a computer to do school work seemed unthinkable. Although I did not initially see the benefits, in hindsight I attribute a huge part of my success today to this innovative mode of learning.
At first, I felt like a failure and defeated by my past. I thought, “How can I have a better future when I can’t even make it through my freshman year of high school?” But I stuck with it and did my best to keep up with my coursework. By the end of tenth grade, something changed inside of me. I promised myself and my family that I would work harder in my classes. I chose to take more rigorous courses including doing Running Start at my local community college to gain college credits for the future. Along the way, I learned how to better manage my time and prioritize my workload.
I built skills in the online environment essential to life. Everything from school meetings, writing papers, doing research, and giving presentations, was intertwined with modern technology. An intriguing world of learning opened for me where I could read e-textbooks, watch videos, attend lectures and be involved in group discussions online. Since my schedule was not controlled by the ring of a bell, I had the opportunity to learn the skills of prioritizing tasks and time management early in life.
My flexible school schedule gave me the advantage of being able to work part-time, allowing me to interact with adults on a professional level. Also, my leadership, public speaking, organization, and event planning skills, were developed through my involvement in various school clubs. This built my confidence and transformed me from a struggling student into a confident leader. I graduated from my online high school in 2011 and went on to get my bachelor’s degree at University of Washington in 2015.
Today, I am grateful to be in my 7thyear at Wells Fargo while owning a side business. I have been married now for two years to my beautiful wife Shirley. I am also a passionate advocate for global orphan care and school choice. I regularly rely on the spirit of determination that the online classroom planted in me. I learned that I have what it takes to keep pushing forward, no matter what life may throw my way. I am grateful to God and my parents for making the decision to choose an alternative school that best fit my needs.”