Online learning, sometimes referred to as homeschool, has led to student success for thousands of familiesThis series, Student Success Stories, features highlights from What’s your Story?, a site that’s home to real stories from real students about how their lives have changed because of individualized, online education through K12 programs.

Lucy shared her daughter’s story for K12′s What’s Your Success Story contest during the last few weeks of the school year, and was the overall winner.

‘Soar high!’ is not only the title of her story, but a phrase her daughter, Joelene, says her mom has been saying for as long as she can remember. Lucy said she heard the inspiring message in college about an eagle who did not know how to fly after being chained since birth, but fought above his limitations, and soared high in the sky as he was supposed to. She wanted her daughter to be like the eagle. Joelene did just that.

This year, she finished her middle school career a year early at K12’s California Virtual Academies, and has been using their online education program since kindergarten. She says “it has been a learning experience that touched every part of my life.”

Joelene’s sheer drive and determination combined with the flexibility of online education and her mother’s motto have proven to be a successful recipe. This year alone she placed second all around at the 2014 Level 8 Regional Gymnastics Championship, passed her piano exam with distinction, completed the first year of Chinese school, started taking high school courses, and she is in her second year of running a small business! It’s clear that when Joelene does something, she excels.

As a young girl, she always had a sweet tooth. As she grew older she dabbled in baking, and found she loved that aspect, too. Soon, she polished her skills, and Joelene’s Creative Studio was born. Now, she designs custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and figurines. She plans to use part of the scholarship money she won to take a baking and decorating class to take her skills to the next level. She hopes to create a website soon, and one day start a non-profit organization that donates cakes to disabled and underprivileged children.

The other part of Joelene’s scholarship will be going towards her other passion, gymnastics. “As part of the P.E. requirements, my mom enrolled me in gymnastics lessons,” she tells us. It turned out to be an amazing experience. So much so that she’s training to be an NCAA athlete, and is going to the Netherlands to compete internationally this summer.

How does she do it all? Joelene says “have a goal then work hard to reach it. Homeschooling, gymnastics, music, language, as well as owning a small business taught me that even if things don’t go your way, you can never give up. I continue to work hard and persevere towards my dreams and goals. I learned that school is not just for gathering knowledge; it is to understand life. It is a journey to discover yourself, chase your dreams, and make a difference by finding your place in the world. With CAVA, I have had the freedom and priceless opportunities to soar high to reach my potential!”

Joelene absolutely deserves a round of applause!

Read more about Joelene’s online learning experience and share your own student’s triumphs on K12’s What’s Your Story? site.

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