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Class Acts of 2014: More Than A Valedictorian

This series, Class Acts of 2014, features inspiring online education graduates with promising futures and showcases how individualized, award-winning curriculum and technology enabled these students’ success.

Being the Valedictorian is no easy feat, and adding musician, published writer, and athlete to that list may seem like too much for one person to accomplish successfully. Not the case for Stephen Smith.

From a young age, Stephen has been a high achiever. After his mom, Sandy, taught him to read at age 2, he was unstoppable. From books to encyclopedias, he wanted to read everything, and he did.

He also learned to play the violin at age 2, which Sandy says, “taught him accountability and responsibility.”

Rather than slowing down through the years, Stephen sped up. As he added more and more to his list of hobbies, he realized that he needed more flexibility in school to continue with his busy schedule.

The Smiths turned to online education with K12’s Michigan Virtual Charter Academy.

With online education, there was nothing he couldn’t do. The flexibility allowed him to add to his musical repertoire with being able to play the piano, viola, organ, and mandolin. Stephen also enjoys writing music, and sings in a couple of groups at church.

That wasn’t enough.

Stephen has played on soccer teams, volunteered at a local hospital and at the church where his dad is a Pastor. There’s no surprise that when we asked him how he likes to spend his free time, he asked what free time was.

He was no different when it came to his education. Stephen graduated as the Valedictorian of the MVCA Class of 2014. With 12 credits already completed, Stephen will be attending Bob Jones University in the fall with music education declared as his major. He’s received multiple scholarships and grants including the Academic Excellence and Leadership Scholarship, the BJU Legacy Scholarship, and the BJU Founders Grant.

How did he do it all? “Hard work, hard work, and more hard work,” Stephen says.

Have more questions for this graduate? Send them to [email protected]

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Brittany Marklin

Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.

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Class Acts of 2014: More Than A Valedictorian

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