Online freshman students meet quarterly to complete University of California approved labs and find they are creating lasting friendships over their shared interests and college dreams.
Westlake Village, CA – April 27, 2016
Oaks Christian Online freshmen, Jonathan Pegram, Devon Watson, Ethan Saucedo and Samantha D'Ambrosio, meet regularly for science labs on the main campus of Oaks Christian School in order to meet the University of California requirement for in person labs in their UC approved Biology course. The students spend two, eight-hour days per semester working with a science teacher on experiments and dissections. Devon, who would like to be a chemical engineer one day, particularly liked the fetal pig dissection in the labs held on April 16th. The freshmen are all full-time, online students and come from as far away as Sunnyvale, in central California, to participate in on-campus labs. Students in Physics, Chemistry, Marine Biology and AP Biology also come to campus that day, and these lab students can be from the Oaks Christian main campus, from other local schools or in the full-time, online program.
The labs provide a way for students to ask questions, dive deeper into their material and become engaged with the Biology curriculum, but the day is also a great social opportunity. Jonathan, who has a six-hour car trip to participate in lab day, says, "It's great to go to the campus, because the science facilities are amazing, but it's also a good social time with my family in the car; it's a little like a vacation for me. I've learned that it's very important to stay on pace in these rigorous courses, but it's also important to balance that pace with other activities." Samantha, who finds the teachers amazing and was surprised that they knew her name in the first weeks of school, says, "It's a long day, but seeing friends that you've met online makes it better; also, the campus is more beautiful than some colleges. I like the course difficulty; it's a challenge, and I need that." Ethan's dad has helped push him towards academic rigor, and Ethan says, "The live, online, weekly sessions in Biology are geared towards the current lesson, but the lab days help us check for understanding in the smaller things. I know this is a world class education, and I'm setting up my future."
These freshman students also share many passions. Jonathan, Samantha and Ethan all play club soccer and hope to play at the college level and even beyond. Jonathan and Samantha both had sports injuries this semester: Jonathan with a broken hand and Samantha with an injury to her ACL. Devon participates in his family's past-time of bagpipe playing and highland dancing. All of these students have rigorous practice schedules and travel to compete. Working online has allowed them the flexibility to complete their school work and balance their schedules. Ethan seemed to be speaking for all this year's freshman students when he summed up his first year experience, "The first semester of working online can be difficult as you work towards being disciplined enough to keep a five minute break from turning into a twenty minute break. This second semester, though, I've even been able to think of working ahead while balancing my busy schedule. Next year I'm looking forward to more science labs and even Advanced Placement classes. I love a challenge."
The main campus of Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, CA opened in the fall of 2000 and Oaks Christian Online (OCO) opened for full-time, online students in the fall of 2011. One of the nation's finest accredited online schools, Oaks Christian Online High School provides a rigorous, NCAA approved, college-preparatory education for high school students all around the world in a Christian environment. OCO and Oaks Christian School are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges as well as by the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Oaks Christian Online continues to enroll part-time and full-time students throughout the school year and regularly hosts information sessions on its main campus – 31749 La Tienda Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91362, as well as virtual information sessions for prospective student families. Interested students can visit the website https://www.oakschristianonline.org/ to R.S.V.P.