Arkansas Connections Academy Celebrates Its First Graduating Class

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Virtually Ceremony Held on May 31 Honored Graduates Across the State; Seniors Earned More Than $465,000 in Scholarship Awards

Star person in circle with orange and yellow background with Arkansas Connections Academy to the right.

Arkansas Connections Academy Celebrates Class of 2020

They were able to complete their senior year successfully despite the challenging times we’re all living, and we were excited to celebrate them.

Arkansas Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K-12 across the state, celebrated its first graduating class with a virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 31. Although the school originally intended to commemorate the Class of 2020 with a traditional in-person ceremony, due to social distancing, the graduation was moved online.

“We’re extremely proud of our first graduating class and their accomplishments,” said Darla Gardner, principal of Arkansas Connections Academy. “They were able to complete their senior year successfully despite the challenging times we’re all living, and we were excited to celebrate them.”

The virtual ceremony featured a message from Principal Gardner, a senior slide show, a video montage of graduates taking part in the cap toss and a speech by Dr. Dennis Beck, Arkansas Connections Academy School Board Chair. Additionally, students from across the state joined Arkansas Connections Academy for individual, in-person graduations at the school’s Bentonville office.

Arkansas Connections Academy’s first graduating class is made up of 188 students and collectively earned $465,000 in scholarship money. More than half of graduates, 52 percent, plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities. Additionally, graduates also have plans to attend vocational training programs (5 percent), join the military (4 percent) or enter the workforce directly upon graduation (9 percent).

The school opened in 2016 for students in K-9 and has added a grade level each school year to fully serve grades K-12 this school year. Arkansas Connections Academy provides high-quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences—online and in person—to create a supportive environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. Students work with certified teachers online and on the phone while a parent or other adult “Learning Coach” monitors progress in the home.

Enrollment for Arkansas Connections Academy’s 2020-2021 school year is currently open. For more information, visit, or call 1-800-221-2720.

About Arkansas Connections Academy
Arkansas Connections Academy (ARCA) is a full-time, tuition-free, online public charter school for students in grades K-12 across the state. Arkansas Connections Academy offers students a personalized, flexible learning approach to education in a safe, supportive online learning environment. The school combines Arkansas-licensed teachers, an award-winning curriculum, technology tools, and social experiences, enabling each student to learn in a way that’s best suited to their individual needs. Arkansas Connections Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), an accrediting division of Cognia, formerly AdvancED.

For more information, visit, or call 1-800-221-2720.

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Gaby Rodriguez
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