Surprise Meet-Up for Agora Friends

September 22, 2023 1:51 pm

Surprise Meet-Up at Knoebels “Out-Thrills” the Rollercoaster for Two Agora Students


If you ever hear someone assert that, “friendships and socialization cannot happen in a cyber school,” we encourage you to share this story of not one, but two, friendships for life that now exist thanks to two Agora students feeling a special connection during a first-grade class. The desire of these students—Charlotte and Kat—to build their friendship nearly instantly influenced their mothers to do the same. But before we get to the “thrills” of the third graders’ recent surprise meetup, we’ll enrich the story by recounting the journey that brought both families to Agora, which, in turn, brought both families together.


Charlotte’s path to Agora started with her older sister, a proud Agora graduate who is now studying to be an ultrasound technician and working as a pharmacy technician. She was a straight-A student through her years in a brick-and-mortar school, but suddenly started failing classes in fifth grade. Her mother, Jodi, took her concerns to the school but received little concern, let alone solutions and support. Within a week, the family transitioned Charlotte’s sister to Agora. At the time, very few people were leaving brick-and-mortar public schools for the cyber charter model—making Jodi a bit of a pioneer in exercising her choice to pursue educational excellence for her family.


That pioneering spirit—coupled with the positive Agora experience—came into play when Jodi’s middle child found similar lack-of-learning issues in her brick-and-mortar school. Once again, the family turned to Agora. When it was Charlotte’s turn to go to school, there was no question for the family, who was then established in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


“The transition to Agora was flawless for all my children,” said Jodi. “My eldest, the Agora graduate, was in no way behind her friends who attended a brick-and-mortar school. In fact, she excelled. Cyber school takes out all the drama.”


Now in third grade, Charlotte has only the best things to say about her teachers and the opportunities Agora gives her to be active and explore new subjects—and, of course, the door it opened for her to become “besties” with Kat.


Speaking of Kat, her path to Agora began at age 4, when one day in daycare she finished her work ahead of the class and was punished for being eager to have something else to do. Her mother, Eileen, struggled to have Kat be placed in an advanced setting, so she turned to Agora. She envisioned a place where Kat could be challenged at her level and escape bullying, as well as a model that would allow Eileen to be involved in her daughter’s learning.


“We just didn’t feel comfortable with what the local brick-and-mortar kindergarten was offering,” said Eileen. “I worried about bullying. I also worried that the teachers couldn’t keep up because they have other students to worry about. Agora caught my eye, and I was told that Kat can advance where she needs to advance. It all sounded too good. We started, and then the pandemic hit—people thought that was why we chose this route. But it was my personal choice, and Agora has been a game changer for our family.”


Friends forever meet for the first time.

One day after a first-grade meet-and-greet online at Agora, Kat told her mother about Charlotte—known as “Charlee”—a sweet girl she wanted to get to know better. As mothers tend to do, Eileen set out on a mission to find out more and connect with Charlee’s mother. It took over a month, but through a series of Facebook searches and messages, the girls’ mothers—Eileen and Jodi—finally connected.


“The first day we started talking, my eldest daughter had a blind date, and Eileen helped me get through it. We bonded and have remained very close,” said Jodi.


After the moms connected, they went to work putting systems in place for their daughters to build their relationship inside and outside of Agora, despite living two hours from each other. Skype—daily, if not more frequently—became a tool of choice. According to the mothers, “If their voices aren’t echoing through our house, there’s something wrong. This friendship makes our hearts happy. Charlee and Kat really are like sisters.”


This past summer, Jodi and Eileen decided it was time for the girls to meet face-to-face, and they plotted to make it a surprise centered around Jodi’s family camping trip to Knoebels. The mothers arranged a “chance meeting” in front of The Phoenix roller coaster. When Charlee heard Eileen, in a purposefully loud voice, call out Kat’s name, she paused and looked up, and the two girls’ eyes met with a Hollywood-like joy and surprise. They ran up to each other and, after a minute of shock, hugged, held hands and ran through park talking and laughing as if they’d been friends forever.”


“It just goes to show that you can develop wonderful friendships in cyber school,” said Eileen. “Charlee and Kat have the cutest friendship. I can see it being one that lasts through life.”