VACAVILLE, Calif. — More than 150 high school seniors from California Virtual Academy (CAVA) celebrated their graduation ceremony Tuesday. But this wasn’t your average ceremony. All of the students attend school online. It was the first time most of them met their classmates.
Principal Deann Mayers said there are approximately 10,000 students enrolled in the K-12 program.
“We are a network of nine public charter schools. We have students that started with us in kindergarten, and they can go all the way up to the 12th grade," Mayers said.
Carlos Plummer, from Cameron Park, is one of the valedictorians and has been at CAVA since kindergarten. He said he never cared to transfer to a traditional school even though it was an option.
“It’s a really interesting and different type of school but one a lot of people can benefit from," Plummer said. "I think there are a lot of stigmas to it [that] it shouldn’t have because it’s essentially the same thing and, for some people, it’s better.”
Parents said they chose online education for their kids for various reasons including safety, academics, professional training, and convenience. Jennifer Demallie said she chose the online school because her daughter has severe food allergies.
“The environment wasn’t conducive for it and until she can handle anxiety with that it was a better option,” Demallie said.
Mayers said they have students from all walks of life.
“We have students who are artist, athletes, actors... that are doing work or training during the day and doing school outside of traditional hours," Mayers said. "We also have students with health issues, and we have students that didn’t feel that their local school was academically challenging or safe."
CAVA is a free charter public school open to students across California. They receive a laptop or desktop, printer, books and art, and science materials to complete their studies.