Flexibility is key for a Cottage Grove teen graduating in the Class of 2021 from Willamette Connections Academy, a tuition-free, online public school for K-12 students. According to school officials, 18-year old Diego Reyes was able to manage his school day and learn at his own pace so he could become a competitive swimmer, his dream sport. 

Cheryl Reyes, Diego’s mother and Learning Coach, said her son, “liked the flexibility of online school which allowed him to continue his swim practices,” and he hopes to compete as an Olympic swimmer someday, as well as start a career as a pastry chef. 

Willamette Connections Academy serves students 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 educational 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. 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,” said Willamette Connections Academy Principal Chris Long. 

Willamette Connections Academy is planning a drive-by commencement ceremony for an estimated 50 graduates on June 12th in Scio. Willamette Connections Academy is now enrolling for the 2021-22 academic year.