Originally published in the Daily Independent on May 20, 2023
The graduating classes of two online public schools serving students throughout the state will toss their caps in the air at commencement ceremonies in Glendale on Monday, May 22.
Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) and Insight Academy of Arizona (ISAZ) will both host in-person events at the Glendale Civic Center, 5750 W. Glenn Drive. AZVA’s ceremony, which will honor 269 graduates, will take place at 11 a.m., followed by ISAZ’s event for its 234 graduates is scheduled at 3:30 p.m.
Both events will be livestreamed on Facebook.
“These ceremonies are an opportunity to shine a light on our students and acknowledge their hard work and successes,” AZVA and ISAZ Executive Director Charles Woods shared in a news release. “Our graduates have inspired us with their efforts in the classroom and in their communities. Some have overcome incredible odds to get here. Many have achieved exceptional academic feats. We are beyond proud of all of them, and while it’s hard to say goodbye, we can’t wait to see where they go from here.”
Among AZVA’s Class of 2023, 50 students will graduate with a cumulative grade point average above 3.5, recognized with the Cum Laude scale. In addition, 49.5% of seniors report acceptance to trade schools, colleges, and universities nationwide as well as several branches of the military.
Collectively, the class of 2023 reports $190,000 in college scholarships. They have already completed more than 86 concurrent college courses and earned 46 professional certifications through AZVA’s career and technical education program.
AZVA’s 2023 valedictorian, Roman Celik, has a weighted GPA of 4.439. Salutatorian, Aidan Miyagishma, graduates with a weighted GPA of 4.11.
ISAZ’s 2023 class includes 234 students. The school offers support and flexibility for seventh- through 12th-graders who have confronted barriers in their education, ensuring these students earn their high school diploma and are well-prepared for future careers.
Ten members of the Class of 2023 are graduating with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or better, with 56% heading to trade schools, colleges, universities, and military service. ISAZ’s graduates report $55,000 in college scholarships, while many of them are prepared to join the workforce right out of high school; 95 students are graduating with professional CTE certifications.
ISAZ’s 2023 valedictorian, 11th-grade student, Ashley Alvarez Guzman, graduates with a weighted GPA of 4.05. Salutatorian, 11th-grader Shadia Manassra, has a weighted GPA of 4.03.
“So many of these students have maximized the opportunities available at our schools, particularly in career readiness and technical education,” Erica Young-Jackson, career readiness education administrator, stated. “Many of them are graduating with professional certifications in high-demand industries and a jump-start on their careers, while others have already made significant progress toward college degrees.”
AZVA and ISAZ students attend live virtual classes taught by state-certified teachers. The schools meet the needs of diverse student populations through technology, effective teachers and instruction, and partnerships with families and community.
They are also the first and only online schools in Arizona offering state-approved career and technical education (CTE) programs. Students can elect to receive training and work toward professional certifications in a variety of high-demand pathways including business, health and human services, information technology, visual art and design, agriculture, hospitality and tourism and more.
AVZA opened in 1995 and serves students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
ISAZ, which launched in 2012, is an online junior high and high school serving students in seventh through 12th grades.
What: Arizona Virtual Academy and Insight Academy of Arizona commencement ceremonies
When: Monday, May 22. AZVA starts at 11 a.m.; ISAZ starts at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Glendale Civic Center, 5750 W. Glenn Drive
To learn more about Arizona Virtual Academy, visit https://azva.k12.com/.
To learn more about Insight Academy of Arizona, visit https://insightaz.k12.com/.