Virtual school seniors beat the odds to graduate

Online education alternative allows at-risk students to earn their diplomas.

LEBANON — Friends, family and area educators gathered Wednesday afternoon, June 2, to see dozens of at-risk high school students receive their diplomas.

More than 30 students, out of 51 who completed the coursework, attended the first graduation ceremony of the Warren County Virtual School, held at the Lebanon High School commons area.

The graduates were recognized as “at-risk” students by the Ohio Department of Education and the virtual school enabled them to do 100 percent of their coursework over the Internet, said Tom Isaacs, virtual school board president.

“Almost everyone of these students was a high school dropout at one point or was at risk of dropping out,” Isaacs said.

The graduates had a myriad of reasons why they ended up in the virtual school. Christine Cowdrey said she moved from the Springboro school district to Tipp City in Miami County. At 19, she was able to get her diploma in about three months and plans to attend cosmetology school in Vandalia.

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David Scott Weaver of Butlerville not only earned a diploma, he earned 16 college credits through the Post Secondary Enrollment Option. Weaver said as a freshman, he sought other alternatives because he didn’t fit in at Little Miami. He said the virtual school challenged him more, particularly in math, and that he was able to work at his own pace, progressing through lessons faster than he would have in a traditional high school.

Weaver said he will continue taking classes at Chatfield College. When asked about his future career he said, “I don’t know yet, but I’m hoping for the best.”

David’s mom, Susan Weaver, said she’s “glad it’s done.”

“It was hard to make him sit down and get it done,” she said.

Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4542 or rwilson@coxohio.com.

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