Full-Time Online School Willamette Connections Academy Celebrates Graduates From Across Oregon

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Drive-through commencement ceremony planned for June 12th to recognize the accomplishments of The Class of 2021

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Willamette Connections Academy celebrates the Class of 2021

It is so rewarding to watch these graduates persevere and grow in a year full of challenges. They have demonstrated so much resilience and self-motivation. We wish the graduates in the Willamette Connections Academy Class of 2021 the very best as they go forth and make a difference in the world.

Willamette Connections Academy, a statewide tuition-free online public charter school, is holding a drive-through commencement ceremony for an estimated 45 graduates, as well as family and school staff, on Saturday, June 12th in Scio.

“Many students transitioned to Willamette Connections Academy because they were seeking an established online learning program to support their needs over the past year,” said Willamette Connections Academy Principal Chris Long. “These graduates benefited from a complete education experience with opportunities to develop critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration abilities, so they’re prepared to succeed now and as they progress through college, career and life.”

Approximately 30 percent of the Willamette Connections Academy Class of 2021 are graduating early. In addition, 40 percent are expected to receive an honors cord to wear at graduation for achieving the school’s highest GPAs.

John Schenk Jr. from Dundee is an honor cord recipient. He’s excited to be attending George Fox University in the fall and decided to change his major from electrical engineering to computer science after taking an AP computer science class at Willamette Connections Academy this year.

“I feel more prepared for what the future holds,” said Schenk. “I now have a clearer view on what exactly I want to do as a career, all because Willamette Connections Academy gave me the experiences I needed.”

Over half (54 percent) of the graduates plan to attend two-or-four-year colleges or universities. Another 17 percent are planning to enroll in a trade school. Additional graduates have plans to join the military, enter the workforce, take a gap year or pursue other opportunities.

“It is so rewarding to watch these graduates persevere and grow in a year full of challenges,” said Victoria Neer, 12th grade advisor for Willamette Connections Academy. “They have demonstrated so much resilience and self-motivation. We wish the graduates in the Willamette Connections Academy Class of 2021 the very best as they go forth and make a difference in the world.”

Nine of the 45 graduates are interested in careers related to the healthcare field, some as a result of the pandemic. Emily Diermier from Lebanon had planned to explore the medical field before the COVID-19 outbreak and became even more committed after her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“I find the development of vaccines, like the ones for COVID-19, a very noble and exciting possible future for me,” explained Diermier. “I see cancer research and development the same way. Mostly, I just find cellular biology and genetics really cool and the fact I could do some serious good with that encourages me.” Diermier is working on an Associate’s Degree at Linn Benton Community College and hopes to transfer to Oregon State University for a four-year degree in Biology.

Willamette Connections Academy serves students in grades K-12 from across Oregon who have a variety of needs and educational backgrounds, providing each student with individual learning plans tailored to their unique abilities. Teachers specially trained in the online environment help motivate and engage students and encourage them to take ownership of their own unique education journey.

“The pandemic has impacted so many things around us, but fortunately our students were able to continue their education uninterrupted in a safe, welcoming learning environment,” added Long. “Our focus throughout this last school year was providing students stability in their education and supporting their social and emotional wellbeing to help them gain the skills and confidence they need to thrive in a changing world.”

Willamette Connections Academy is currently enrolling students for the 2021-2022 school year. Free informational webinars are available for prospective families and students who want to learn more about the engaging online education program. For a complete schedule and to sign up for one of the webinars please go to WillametteConnectionsAcademy.com/events.

To learn more about the school call 888-478-9474 or visit the school’s website http://www.WillametteConnectionsAcademy.com.

About Willamette Connections Academy 
Willamette Connections Academy (WillCA) is a unique, tuition-free, online public school for K-12 students across Oregon. Authorized by the Scio School District but overseen by its own governing board and school leadership, Willamette Connections Academy offers a high-quality educational experience that keeps students motivated and engaged in a safe, virtual learning environment. In addition to academics, teachers focus on emotional well-being and social development, working closely with families to help students learn how they learn best. Here, students gain the skills and confidence they need to direct their own educational journey, learning to thrive in the real world by first learning how to be resourceful and resilient. For more information, call 888-478-9474 or visit http://www.WillametteConnectionsAcademy.com.

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Dawn Phillips
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