Since kindergarten, I've called Idaho Virtual Academy my second home. I'm now a senior in high school, and I'm so thankful that I grew up learning at IDVA. I'm a very organized, schedule-oriented person, so I love that the virtual academy is highly organized and deadline-oriented.
When I got to high school, I joined the staff of Virtual Reality—an online newspaper produced by students in the IDVA journalism course. My brother previously served as the editor-in-chief and had a blast in that role. Before I was in high school, I would watch him edit pages and knew I wanted to get involved when I started high school. My first role was as a staff writer. After a month, I was promoted to an editor position and worked my way up to editor-in-chief before the end of the school year.
The previous editor-in-chief set me up for success by mentoring me in the months leading up to the transition. When I took over, I wanted to make my own mark on the newspaper. I took a vote with the staff, and we decided to change the overall look of Virtual Reality. From brainstorming, to posting finished stories on the website, and everything in between, staff members have so much flexibility to be creative with technology.
Our team uses a WordPress site for Virtual Reality. Check it out here! Many companies use WordPress to build their websites, and cultivating a high-level of comfort with technology in high school is a skill that sets IDVA graduates apart to colleges and employers.
long with learning how to use a variety of online tools, I really enjoyed leading the awesome staff in the editor-in-chief position—they were so amazing to work with. We are a tight-knit group because we depend on each other to create the newspaper. If one thing falls through, it can impact the entire issue of Virtual Reality. We're from across the state, and may live hours apart, but we've become so close. In this setting, you get to know the true character of your fellow staff members. Now, these people are some of my best friends.
In addition to the connections with friends, I've had a lot of amazing teachers during my time with IDVA. In ninth and tenth grade, I had an advisor named Debbie Thomas who helped me so much. Not only would she guide me through school related-decisions, but she also cared about my personal well-being. Even though she's no longer my advisor, we stay in touch. She really made me feel like my future was important.
I love interacting with my peers online. It's nice to have the flexibility to receive a great education while also making strong personal connections. The online aspect makes it a lot easier to socialize. Some students are shy in person, but their personalities shine and they come out of their shells in an online setting.
Outside of school, I've started teaching myself to play piano, and I'm going to start taking karate classes. I also love to read many different types of literature. IDVA has really instilled a love for learning in me, and I hope to carry this with me throughout my life.
After graduation, I'm planning to go to law school. I always read posts online where people complain about the state of our nation and ask, "Why isn't anyone doing anything about it?" I want to be a person who does something about it and makes a difference. I'm excited to learn and take in the knowledge in law school so I can go into politics. IDVA has given me the tools I need to make a difference—not just in school but throughout my life.