Zach’s Agora Journey
Raising a child is not for the faint of heart. Life can be pretty messy, and as parents we are often faced with making hard choices to protect the health and well-being of our children. For our family, making the decision to switch from a traditional brick-and-mortar school to a cyber charter school was not an easy one. We had to consider our busy work schedules, and we worried about whether our son Zachary would be able to make new friends. We wanted him to have a high-quality education and we wanted him to be prepared for his future. We wanted the best for him, so this is not a decision we took lightly. We did our research, and we chose to send Zach to Agora Cyber Charter School when he entered 6th grade. While choosing to switch from a brick-and-mortar school to a cyber charter school wasn’t easy, choosing to stay with Agora for 7 years was simple. Each year we asked Zach, “Do you want to go back to your old school?”, and each year he emphatically said “No!”
Aside from providing a quality education, attending a cyber charter school has many advantages that were highlighted during the last few years for us. During the pandemic, Zach never missed a beat, because he was already learning online. While others were scrambling to figure out how to safely attend classes and navigate new ways of completing assignments, Zach’s school life didn’t really change that much, other than switching to asynchronous learning so we could share the internet while I worked from home. In June of 2021, Zach had a serious ATV accident. This was the summer before his senior year, and his traumatic brain injury would have made learning very difficult in a traditional classroom setting. He was able to work asynchronously, so we could work around doctor appointments, ongoing migraine headaches, changes in his ability to focus and his inability to get enough sleep. Despite dealing with a pandemic and a head injury, Zach graduated with honors in June 2022.
Zach is preparing to attend Slippery Rock University this fall with a major in Civil Engineering and a minor in Marine Science. Thanks to the support and education he received at Agora, Zach received several scholarships based on his academic performance. He was able to take electives at Agora that interested him and helped him gain new skills, such as various computer classes, astronomy and personal finance.
Zach met his very best friend, Damon, the first year he was at Agora, and we were able to take him along to the amazing graduation ceremony in Hershey. We are forever grateful that Damon is a part of our lives now, and he is like a brother to Zach. We wish he lived closer, but with cyber school, friendships can be forged without geographical limitations. In fact, even though Zach now has friends all over the world, he is closest to those he met at Agora.
In case you are wondering why we switched to Agora, it was to protect our son. Bullying is no joke, and it damages a child’s self-esteem. Intentional exclusion and always being left out destroys a child’s confidence and feelings of self-worth. Trusting anyone becomes a challenge when you are constantly being gossiped about, and the effects of the trauma experienced by being bullied can persist for a lifetime. As parents, we are responsible for making sure our children have the opportunity to thrive and have the best possible support as they grow into adults. They are entitled to a free public education, and they deserve to receive this education in a safe environment that is conducive to learning. Cyber school may not be for everyone, but for our family, it was life changing.