Online School Graduates Earn Over $7 Million in Scholarship Awards

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Indiana Connections Academy celebrates nearly 500 graduates during in-person commencement ceremony

Online public school graduates celebrate during in-person commencement

This is a challenging path, one that has required strength of character, incredible work ethic, perseverance, patience and a profound sense of self direction and motivation. Congratulations for reaching this milestone.

Indiana Connections Academy (INCA) graduated nearly 500 students in the Class of 2018, a diverse and accomplished group of graduates who collectively earned more than $7.25 million in scholarships and awards. Students attending the full-time online public school gathered from across the state last week for an in-person ceremony with family, friends and teachers to celebrate student achievements.

“This is a challenging path,” said Melissa Brown, executive director of Indiana Connections Academy. “One that has required strength of character, incredible work ethic, perseverance, patience and a profound sense of self direction and motivation. Congratulations for reaching this milestone.”

The majority of graduates, 60 percent, plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities. Additional graduates have plans to attend vocational training programs (10 percent), join the military (three percent) or enter the workforce directly upon graduation (27 percent). Students will head to various academic institutions including Indiana University Bloomington, Trine University, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Spalding University, Purdue University, Indiana State University, Valparaiso University, Baylor University, Taylor University, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, Ball State University, University of Southern Indiana, Butler University and University of Louisville. Over 100 students graduated early from the online school, 21 graduating a full year early.

“If I had been in a traditional school, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate high school because of how sick I had become,” said Richard Ostergaard, valedictorian of the Indiana Connections Academy Class of 2018, during his speech to classmates. “I used to spend 60 days per school year at home because I was sick. I was able to take my life back with INCA.” Ostergaard, from Greenwood, Ind., enrolled in INCA during eighth grade. In addition to being named valedictorian, Ostergaard also served as student government president for two years and National Honor Society president for one year. He is headed to Tennessee Tech on a full-ride scholarship, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.

During the ceremony, Rep. Jeff Thompson (District 28) also offered his congratulations to graduates, focusing on this significant accomplishment. Thompson urged students to use their abilities to help others and to keep a positive attitude.

Additional seniors who walked across the stage include:

  • Abigail Bixler, from Indianapolis, served as the Class of 2018 salutatorian. Since the age of four, Abigail has dreamt of becoming a ballerina and currently holds a job with the Indianapolis Ballet.
  • Jasmine Boyd from Marion, Ind. will attend Alabama A&M with a full-ride scholarship – half academics and half athletics (tennis). She plans to study computer science while playing on the school’s Division I tennis team.
  • Bianca de Soto Booher, from Bloomington, Ind., will attend Hawaii Pacific University with a full-ride scholarship – half academics and half athletics (gymnastics). In addition to her schoolwork and gymnastics practice, Bianca is a two-time national power lifting champion in the Teen 2 group.
  • Annie Wiese, from Carmel, Ind., earned a full-ride scholarship – half academics and half athletics (swimming) – to attend the University of Notre Dame.
  • Makayla Buck, from Marion, Ind. plans to head straight into the workforce after graduation. Makayla recently started her own fashion line tailored towards petite females, and is looking forward to her upcoming launch.
  • Logan Morrison, from Noblesville, Ind., is graduating a year early. Logan and his band, Tri Patterns, released an album this spring and will go on tour this summer.

In addition to a diploma, each graduate received a small stone meant to symbolize time spent together, overall accomplishments and connections made at the online school.

“When you need an extra boost or when your confidence is low, take that stone out and remember that you were part of something unique in the state of Indiana,” said Brown. “While your diploma is a reminder of your academic achievements, I hope this small stone serves as an important reminder of the connections you have made.”

“I have met some of my best friends at INCA and truly have made ones that can’t be replaced,” said Ostergaard. “I think a strange component of the stigma against online schools is that there isn’t enough communication between the student and the teacher and within the student body. I really can’t see that. You can be about as active as you want to be.”

With the ability to work anywhere there is an Internet connection, students hail from small and large cities in Indiana – including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Indianapolis, Martinsville, Shelbyville, South Bend and more. In total, more than 2,000 students have now received a diploma from Indiana Connections Academy.

Enrollment is currently underway for Indiana Connection Academy’s 2018 - 2019 school year. Details about upcoming information sessions and other events including dates and locations is available online or by calling 888.410.6502. For more information about Indiana Connections Academy, visit IndianaConnectionsAcademy.com.

About Indiana Connections Academy
Indiana Connections Academy (INCA) is a K-12 virtual charter school authorized by Ball State University that offers students statewide a high-quality, highly accountable, tuition-free, public education option. INCA delivers superior, personalized education for students, with the freedom and flexibility to experience our online learning community from anywhere. The combination of state-certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. For more information, call 888-410-6502 or visit IndianaConnectionsAcademy.com.

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Susan Decker
Indiana Connections Academy
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