RENO, NV - Nevada Virtual Academy celebrated the class of 2012 with a ceremony for graduates at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on Wednesday.
“This is the third graduating class we’ve had here at Nevada Virtual Academy,” Head of School Mike Kazek said.
It’s also the schools biggest class. Eleven seniors accepted diplomas at the ceremony and about 90 more will attend a similar ceremony in Las Vegas.
“It’s a wonderful experience, this is the third graduation I’ve been to,” board member Sharon Kientz said. “Two years ago we had just one graduating senior and even that was wonderful, the boy was such a good sport and so happy and his family was so supportive so it was a wonderful experience even with just one.”
Administrators say family plays a big part for students who turn to an online education.
“We celebrate along with the families,” Kazek said. “We interact quite extensively with the families because these students are educated at home so it really provides a family-guided centered education for them.”
The full-time online public school uses a program called K12 curriculum.
“It’s a fabulous curriculum and it’s been approved in dozens of states,” Kientz said.
Nevada Virtual Academy is the largest online charter school in the state, serving about 4,000 students in grades K-12. Today’s high school graduates had different reasons for joining the program.
“I love the virtual school; I have the flexibility of being able to work a job during the day while everybody else in school,” graduate Levi Jenkins said. “Then I’m able to take care of school in the evenings while I’m at home. I want to go into interior architecture and design, hopefully at UNR.”
Graduate Alex Bentley was an online student for the last three years.
“At first it wasn’t really my plan,” Bentley said. “I lived out of the country and when I returned I was late getting back to opening semester at McQueen so I figured I’d do this for a semester and get back on track, eventually get back to McQueen. I never did because I enjoyed this so much, it was definitely a different route than most but between this, taking classes at McQueen and playing baseball at McQueen I thought it was a healthy mix.”
He plans on playing baseball and study film and multimedia at San Diego City College next year and says he’d recommend the online high school program to others.
“If you can push yourself to get it done, absolutely,” Bentley said. “Students that are struggling maybe with being bullied, maybe not getting their work done, getting in trouble, maybe not blending in with the typical moods and fads-we all know how it goes and if it’s not working out for you in regular high school I would definitely recommend it.”
There were graduation ceremonies for the online school's Kindergarten and Middle School students on Wednesday as well.