The Quest Crew's Adventure in Nature

Mr. Olson is our CTE Recreation Teacher and an extreme outdoor enthusiast. He uses his passion and wealth of knowledge about the outdoors to open the natural world up to our students. Recently, Elite partnered with Pali Institute to offer an awesome opportunity to experience nature first hand. From biology and ecology, to team building and problem solving, this is where textbooks come to life!

The Pali Institute is an innovative outdoor program offering educational experiences to schools and youth groups. Their campus is located on the crest of the San Bernardino mountains near California’s gorgeous Lake Arrowhead. During their field trip, students were able to experience learning from a whole new angle through a variety of courses and activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our students were separated into three different groups: the Young Explorers, Outdoor Experience, and Leadership Experience. The Young Explorers option was for our 3rd-5th grade students and included Art in Nature, a Forest Ecology hike, the Living Fossils lab, and "Animal Survivor" class. Students in this group enjoyed a slower pace of activities while their imaginations were able to run wild as they collected acorns and bright yellow willow leaves for their art creations.

The Outdoor Experience option was for our adventurous students. This action packed day had them shooting arrows, building shelters and identifying the plants of the San Bernardino Mountains. Classes during this program included Archery, Forest Ecology hike, Outdoor Skills & Survival Techniques. We had so many students signed up for these activities that two groups were formed; this gave students ample opportunity to practice their shot and build shelters!

The Leadership Experience was for the lionhearts and risk-takers in the group. They challenged their eye with archery; built camaraderie with classmates, and tested their nerves in an adrenaline-inducing high ropes course! This was a popular option for our high schoolers, and students appreciated the opportunity to connect with one another in a natural setting. We also had a group of young risk-takers who completely conquered the ropes course. Age is clearly not a sign of courage for our Elite students! 

Mr. Olson did not stop there - he also coordinated a hike for our Elite families in San Diego County at the Santa Margarita River Trail! Over 30 students, parents and staff joined the hike and had an absolute blast while taking in some knowledge from Mr. O along the way. The group identified several native plants, including a poison oak patch, caught a crawfish in the river and spotted a pumpkinseed fish between the rocks! Kingfishers and songbirds hopped between branches as the group made their way to the numerous beaches along the river.

.                                                       

Thank you Mr. Olson and Pali Institute for being such gracious hosts and instilling an appreciation for Nature and a love of learning with our Elite Students! Mr. Olson will be back in action during January 2022 with skiing and snowboarding at Snow Valley, and Ice Skating in both Riverside and San Diego Counties. If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming recreation events or learning about our CTE Academic Courses, please visit our website's CTE Page.


Celebrating Veterans Day with Operation Gratitude

Mrs. Michelle Hilton is one of our fantastic Homeschool Educators here at Elite. Her father is an Air Force Veteran who served for 50 years, so the military played a very big part in her life. In honor of Veterans Day, she asked her students to write letters to Veterans with the help of Operation Gratitude. This thoughtful gesture soon inspired other teachers and Elite families to join in and express their gratefulness with writing letters or creating their own artwork to express their thanks.

   

Operation Gratitude Letters to Veterans from a few of our Elite Students! 

 

When we think of our Military Veterans, we all think of the friends or family members in our lives that have served and protected. Here at Elite, we are especially grateful for our Veteran Staff, Parents, and Family Members. We had the opportunity to ask a couple of our current Elite Staff and Military Veterans how their time in the Military impacted their current career and led them to working in Education.

 

Adam Woodard, Elite's Director of Finance and Navy SEAL Veteran

My time in the SEAL teams taught me in no uncertain terms the value of teamwork, discipline, and finding a way to succeed regardless of the adversity in front of us. In my new mission as Director of Finance, I might not get to interact very much with the teachers and students that make this school as amazing as it is, but my team and I are honored to be in a position to help them achieve their goals. Leaving the Teams, I wanted to find a driven group of people who understand what it means to work hard and find a way, and I think Elite Academic Academy fulfills that definition and then some. This team truly is Elite!

 

 

 

 

Laura Spencer, Ed.D, Chief Academic Innovation Officer and Army Psychological Operations Specialist Veteran

I joined the Army on a whim when I turned 18. Little did I know just how much it would change my life. As a Psychological Operations Specialist attached to a Special Warfare Unit, I learned that I was capable of achieving just about anything if I set my mind to it and pushed through my self-doubts. With this new outlook on life, I volunteered to serve in Germany for 3.5 years. With nothing but a calling card and the German translation to order a burger at McDonald’s, I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. I traveled to 13 countries while stationed there; made amazing friends; and gained life and leadership skills that continue to serve me today. I would encourage anyone thinking of serving to do some research about the options available and do it! I’m grateful for my time served, and proud that both my daughters have chosen to serve as well, in the U.S. Navy. (Go Army! Beat Navy!)

 

Staff Family Members Salute their Veterans

 

Kira Donaldson, Business Service Clerk and Wife to USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant, James Donaldson Jr. 

Quite a few men have served in my immediate family to include my maternal and paternal grandfathers, uncle, great-uncle and brother-in-law. My husband is an active duty Marine currently serving at Camp Pendleton. Last week he received notification that he has been selected for promotion to the highest enlisted ranking of Master Gunnery Sergeant! I am very grateful for the past, present and future Veterans. 

 

 

Maria Mack, Flex Academy Educator and Daughter to Army and Vietnam War Veteran, Charlie Mack 

I am proud of this veteran, who happens to be my dad, Charlie Mack.  He was in the army at the height of the Vietnam War.  He inspired my uncle to enlist in the army.  My uncle later on became a paratrooper.  Happy Veteran's Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nolan Hutton, Special Education Coordinator and son to the first Female EOD Bomb Tech in the Marines

 

 

 

 

 

There is still time to write a letter or create artwork for Operation Gratitude. Here is the link to the letter writing tool kit. Once the students have written their letters, you can email them to your Teacher of Record or to Kiley Allen at [email protected]. We want to wish a Happy Veterans Day to all of our Military Veterans and their Families!

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” - Elmer Davis, WWII Journalist


Jayden Cox: Student Highlight of the Month

Congratulations to Jayden Cox, an 11th Grade Flex Student who is our Student Highlight of the Month! This is Jayden's 2nd School Year with Elite, and he has shown a lot of growth since he first enrolled.

Jayden came to Elite and was simply focused on improving his grades and relationship with education. While he has made leaps and bounds in that area with the help of his Teacher, Mrs. Potrero, he has also found his niche within our Elite Clubs.

"I'm in a lot of extra curricular activities right now. I'm a part of the BeElite Podcast, Kindness Ambassadors, ArtSeen and CoreUs. I think these clubs are pretty cool and helpful because it helped me get through my shyness phase".

Jayden's current favorite subjects are Chemistry, Spanish and Construction. He chose to stay with Elite after completing our Summer Program in 2020 because he felt he got a lot more help and personalized instruction than he had previously. He would really like to get involved with the music production industry, which is why he enjoys the ArtSeen and CoreUs Clubs. He also really appreciates his Teacher, Mrs. Potrero, who helps him stay on track with his classes and encourages him to keep working hard.

"I think Mrs. Potrero is a cool teacher, she helps me through a lot of my classes, goes over everything...Elite changed a lot of my Academic Experience, I have teachers that actually grade my work and give me feedback, which helps a lot."

His Teacher in the Flex Academy, Mrs. Potrero, is deeply dedicated to her students and their success at Elite.

"We appreciate Jayden's involvement in the clubs and activities at Elite. He has become a student leader! I appreciate that Jayden includes people and encourages them to be part of the school community".

Congratulations Jayden on being Elite's Student Highlight of the month. We can't wait to see how you continue to impact other students through your creativity and kindness in our Elite Clubs!


Meet Homeschool Teacher Amanda Bobczynski

Amanda Bobczynski is one of our fantastic Homeschool Educators here at Elite! She has been in Education for 17 years, a teacher for 10 years, and has been with Elite for 3 years. She chose to #BeElite because she is passionate about Education.

"I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I have experience teaching several diverse fifth grade classes.  I had the opportunity to teach and host various clubs such as robotics and coding. I was a college advisor for seven years and I discovered people are just a couple decisions and choices away from their dreams, and rarely do they accomplish them without an education." 

Ms. B grew up in Shell Beach on the Central Coast of California before moving to San Diego in High School, which is where she has put down her roots. She has a daughter who is a sophomore in college, and a fur baby with four legs, named Coco. She loves sunsets, walking on the beach, and hanging out with family and friends.

"My goal is to instill a passion, teaching students how to critically think, inspire, and motivate every student I come in contact with. I have learned that hard work, a positive attitude, and perseverance always pays off." 

Homeschool Director Evan Jorgensen notices Ms. B's good qualities and is glad that she is a part of the Homeschool Staff:
"Regardless if students are looking to complete FAFSA or learning Phonemic Awareness, Amanda is ready and willing with a vast toolbelt of resources to support her students. Thank you Amanda for working hard and going above and beyond to support your Homeschooling Families."
Kirk Shea, an Elite Parent also recognizes how lucky they are to have Ms. B in their corner:
"Amanda has been so friendly and passionate. She’s been helping us navigate the homeschool world for the last two years with great success. She always makes sure to check in on how our family is doing at all of our meetings."   

While Ms. B has a diverse background in teaching different subjects and grades, her favorite subject to teach has changed a little since she first started her teaching career.

"I used to love math, but now it is writing.  I love giving students the opportunity to explore their creative side, inspire students to go beyond their capabilities, give students the flexibility to find their writing “voice”,  and give individualized feedback during writing conferences." 

We are so grateful to have a dedicated and hardworking teacher like Ms. B to be a part of our awesome Homeschool Academy Staff!

"I love being a homeschool teacher because I get to connect with families,  help facilitate a love for learning, and create individualized education paths for each student. My passion is to inspire students to be a lifelong learner and each child is like working with raw diamonds that I can help shape into precious stones.  Cheers to being a lifelong learner!" 


Elite's Latest Adventures: Take a Look!

This past month, Elite students went to four in-person events with Adventure Lead Tom Olson. You can learn more about him here.

If you didn’t get to enjoy some of these events,  here’s a recap of how they went. If you did attend, see if you can spot yourself in any of these photos!

Don’t worry, we have A LOT of fun adventure field trips planned for this school year! Our next trips will be November 17th and 18th and will include one more hike and a trip to the Pali Institute. If you’re interested in attending, you can register through the calendar event on ParentSquare or ask your Elite Teacher!

Oceanside Harbor Beach Day

One of our student’s favorite aspects of Elite is the flexibility in their learning. So, if we wanted to declare, say, September 23 a beach day, we can! Over a dozen Elite families and several staff members gathered in Oceanside for an afternoon of sunshine and fun times!

Our group convened under a big gazebo, looking over flyers for future events that are happening this fall – we would love to see you at one or all of those outings! Families got to know one another face to face–many for the first time. Students from all three academies were present, from high schoolers to toddlers. We enjoyed some beach volleyball matches and yard games.

Beach Day Photos

Click on any photo below to scroll through and see all photos.

California Surf Museum

While the surf was small at the beach, the learning was barreling in at the California Surf Museum! Four Elite families met Mr. Olson at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside to explore the collection of boards that are on display. This museum has a fantastic exhibit on wave energy, as well as an impressive display of boards that explain the progression of innovations that shaped the sport into modern surfing. This docent-led tour gave our students an in-depth look at wave forecasting and material sciences, and also explained how California has been the epicenter for improvements to surfboard design. Many of the boards on display are one-of-a-kind! Students even got to hold a tiger shark jaw; the same kind of shark that attacked Bethany Hamilton in 2003 (remember the film Soul Surfer?). Her half-bitten surfboard and bathing suit are also on display at the museum. Interested in learning more? Consider enrolling in Introduction to Surfing next semester!

California Surf Museum Photos

Click on any photo below to scroll through and see all photos.

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

Elite families spent a beautiful Saturday morning exploring the trails of Blue Sky Ecological Reserve with Mr. Olson and Mrs. Marcon. A thunderstorm passed through the night before, refreshing the soil and bringing a burst of life to the forest for our hike.

Students spotted an Acorn Woodpecker in the live oak, a California Sister butterfly in a bush, and identified over 10 different native plants! This easy hike was enjoyed by over 15 family members and staff – a great opportunity for everyone to connect and enjoy nature together.

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Photos

Click on any photo below to scroll through and see all photos.

Mount Woodson – Potato Chip Rock 

Elite staff and families made the trek up Mount Woodson last Saturday to catch the sunset and get a photo from the infamous Potato-chip Rock.

The hike began on the east side of the mountain as the group explored different pine trees, mountain mahogany, manzanita and Mojave yucca. A thick marine layer began moving in as the hikers made their way to the summit, cloaking the foothills in fog. The group kept climbing and was elated to behold a sea of clouds below the summit, creating an illusion as if they had climbed a mighty mountain in the Sierras.

Proof of the adventure was captured as our students and staff got their pictures taken atop Potato-chip Rock during the golden hour – a memorable and beautiful way to say adios to Señor Sol.

Mount Woodson Hike Photos

Click on any photo below to scroll through and see all photos.


The History of Firework Shows, and a Few Tips for a Great Fourth of July at Home

Happy birthday to America, turning 245 this 2021!

With shows and parades coming back this year, hopefully the Fourth of July feels celebratory for you! But we know this year's celebration is still going to look a little different this year for many Americans, so to help you get ready, we've put together some great tips to make the most out of this year's Independence Day.

How the firework shows came to be

We know, you're on summer break! But still, here's a quick history lesson in case you've ever wondered why we have a fireworks display each Fourth of July Holiday.

There’s a famous song in America that goes something like “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Recognize it? Of course you do, but what you may not know is that the phrase comes from the Battle of Fort McHenry (also known as the Battle of Baltimore) where our traditional celebration with fireworks came to be.

In the fall of 1814, the War of 1812 was still at large. An attorney known as Francis Scott Key boarded a British ship attempting to negotiate the release of an American prisoner of war. During that time, Key discovered Britain’s plan to attack Fort McHenry and was thus promptly held detained by the British.

That night, Key was the witness of a major battle. As he watched the night sky light up, he could see the American flag in the distance. That symbol not only encouraged him to hold on to hope, but inspired him to write a poem that we now know as the “Star Spangled Banner.”

As a tribute to Francis Scott Key, America now celebrates Independence Day every Fourth of July by lighting the sky with fireworks.

Although Key is our greatest attribution to the fireworks show, the idea of fireworks started all the way back on July 4, 1776 when our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring America to be its own country independent from Britain. Thereafter, John Adams stated that this day should be long remembered and celebrated with parades, games and “illuminations,” otherwise known as fireworks.

Some tips for having a great Fourth of July at home

Maybe you're going to a show this year, and that's awesome! But if you're still staying at home, here are a few ways to make it fun. These are great weekend ideas too, by the way, even if you're planning on heading out somewhere!

Tip #1: Bake some patriotic goods, or have a good ole' fashioned bbq

Whether you head out to parades and shows, or you're at home this Fourth of July, you can get in the spirit with some baked goods! Here's a few patriotic recipe ideas:

  • Bake a pie and decorate it with stars, like this one, maybe?
  • Make an American flag cake. Seriously, it's as simple as adding some strawberries and blueberries. Check it out!
  • Of course, there's always grilling some traditional bbq, so long as it reminds you of childhood favorites and America! If you need inspiration, here are some ideas.

Tip #2 And some simple Watermelon Juice to go along with it!

Watermelon as a drink? Yes! It's delicious and simple. Watermelon is a reminder great times in the summer. This time around, try turning your favorite side dish into your favorite drink.

For easy instructions, check out this recipe.

Tip #3 Memorize at least one amendment in the Bill of Rights

Speaking of Independence Day, why not celebrate your freedoms by learning more about them? The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States are known as the Bill of Rights, which lists out each freedom you are guaranteed as an American citizen.

Without the events that took place in 1776, there would be no Bill of Rights. So make sure you know at least one of them and memorize it this Fourth of July. Then you can cite it to your friends like a pro.

Tip #4 Drive somewhere nearby and soak up some local history

You might be thinking there isn't much "Fourth of July" history in California. And yes, while we may not be near Revolutionary War historical sites, but there absolutely is some history in Southern California to appreciate. Here are a couple places in California that likely aren't too far from you:

  • Grab your bikes or hop in the car and take a scenic route along the coast. Enjoy a beautiful, quiet scenery in the great outdoors.
  • Take an adventure to a state/national park, like Joshua Tree, Crystal Cove or Palomar Mountain State ParkAs Theodore Roosevelt said, "Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders."
  • Head out to Old Town San Diego or the Old Mission in Santa Barbara. Take a moment and remember the history that lives around you, both the good and the bad. It'll help you find respect for the place you live in, while seeing where you can help make progress.

Tip #5  Above all, spend the day with someone you care about

Of course, the best part of any holiday is that you can surround yourself with people you love. Maybe you can't all physically be together this year, that doesn't mean you shouldn't connect through Zoom or FaceTime. And whoever can physically be there will be such a gift!  Whether it's a significant other or family and friends, be sure to spend your Independence with people you care about.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!


Get to Know our Homeschool Academy Graduates!

It’s always a great accomplishment when a student graduates high school.

But, we think it’s probably fair to give a little extra credit to the graduates of 2021! These students made it successfully through the 2020-21 school year, and that was no easy feat. Despite everything that happened this past year, these student kept diligently pursuing their diplomas and made it!

So, here’s a virtual high five being sent your way, to not just our students, but all the 2021 high school graduates out there.

About the Elite Class of 2021

We had an awesome graduation ceremony with almost all our seniors in attendance! Here’s a little more about them.

From Oliver’s Parents:

“I know it sounds cliche to say we are proud of you, so we won’t. We are impressed with how you’ve grown up in this crazy family with seven siblings and still managed to take the initiative and complete your high school education independently. You have now joined the family business and you are working harder than we could ever have imagined. We are stunned everyday with how dedicated and conscientious you are in every aspect of your life. So here’s to you, we couldn’t be more proud!!”

From Katherine’s Parents:

“Katherine…This past year has been filled with challenges. With so many uncertainties and lack of answers with respect to college testing, college applications, NCAA eligibility, college recruitment, and the emotional highs and lows that went with this journey, you did an amazing job on navigating such uncharted circumstances. You’ve never waiver from your commitment to your studies nor to your tennis training and development. The results can speak for itself and a 4-year ride to APU clearly speaks volume.”

From Tawny’s Parents:

“You came into our life unexpected, a surprise to all of us. What an adventure you have brought us, the laughter, the tears and the love. We wish you all the success we know you will have because you are blessed and to us, a blessing. We are forever grateful for that surprise we call TNT. Love you to infinity and beyond, Mom and Dad.”

Tawny’s Future Plans:

“I hope to be an author one day. Eventually, I will look into real estate school so I can support myself as a realtor while pursuing my goal of being an author.”

From Rayshawn’s Parents:

“Rayshawn, we are so proud of you and knew you were destined to be great. Life has a way of molding your every move, and the greatest reward is not always how you start but how you finish. It has been exciting to see how you have evolved from beating pots and pans, to becoming a great percussionist. All the creative noise you made from sunup to sundown perfecting your gift was well worth it. Rayshawn, never be silent, continue to make noise and the world will appreciate your awesome gift. Your chapter in life is just beginning. Enjoy it and use every day to be great. With much love and admiration, Mom and Dad”

From Jaron’s Parents:

“Jaron is our sunshine. He radiates enthusiasm and zeal for life. He shows passion for all his interests and activities and draws everyone in with his optimistic ‘good vibes.’ Jaron has excelled both academically as well as in performing arts, studio arts and film studies. He has become a young man who confidently tackles challenges and achieves his goals. Jaron always looks for opportunities to serve, and he is an amazing example to his siblings. We are proud and blessed to be his family. -Mom, Dad, Ariel, Larissa, Alina, and Ian”

From Graham’s Parents:

“Well done, Graham! This is an achievement to savor. You learned a lot about yourself. You learned a lot about the world around you. We all feel really good about how we were able to work together and be supportive. And most of all, you did the work and you kept at it. Having done all this, we all know – with conviction – that you will be successful going forward. Congratulations!”

 

From Garret’s Parents:

“Congratulations Garret on this momentous occasion! It has been a blessing to see you learn and grow throughout the years. We are so proud of you for all your hard work. We look forward to the next chapter in your life to see what God has in store for you. We know that whatever you do, you will be successful as you follow the Lord’s leading in your life.”

Garret’s Future Plans:

“In the fall, I will be taking classes at Palomar College to work towards obtaining a business administration degree with an emphasis in legal studies. I will also be working part-time as a legal assistant at my father’s law office.”

From Alex’s Parents:

“Alex, since you were born, you have been the gift that our family never knew we needed. Growing along with you as you have gone from baby to child to man has been a learning experience that we will treasure always. Your challenges have been many, but your triumphs have been more. We are confident that you have so much more to show the world in the future.”

Alex’s Future Plans:

Alex worked hard to complete his studies and graduate early. He is currently attending Palomar college as a full-time student and getting his pre-requisites done. He plans on studying computer science.

 

From Evy’s Parents:

“Dear Evy, we could not be more proud of you! You have always been a ray of sunshine, the kid everyone wants for a best friend, the Pied Piper of children. Now you have completed this awesome milestone. All your grueling work has paid off. We always knew you could accomplish whatever you set your mind to. You will be fantastic at UCLA and we will always be here for you. We love you very much! Mom and Dad”
page1image1656768624

From Ashlynn’s Parents:

“Ashlynn, you have always been a joy and blessing in our lives. We are so proud of the accomplishments you have achieved and the beautiful woman you have become. You have been a great blessing to our family and have taught us kindness, patience, and most importantly love. Thank you for your beautiful smile and quick wit that brings joy and laughter to our days. We wish you the best in life and will always be there to support and love you. We are grateful to have you as our daughter and sister! Lots of love, Mom, Dad, Heather”

For more information about Elite Academic Academy, head here.


Shelby Murray - Homeschool Academy Students Ranks First Nationally in Horsemanship

Shelby Murray is one of our Homeschool Academy Students that just finished up her 10th grade school year. Like many of our students, she works hard in all areas of her life. Shelby has taken it one step further and become an absolute rockstar in the sport of Three day Eventing. She was recently ranked Number 1 in eventing at the Junior/training division by the United States Eventing Association, USEA. We had to learn more about Shelby's rise up the ranks and what keeps her motivated to do her best in her sport.

Shelby's mom, Julie, has loved horses her whole life. It seems that the love of horses and discovery of the sport came from her! They got involved with the US Pony Club when Shelby was 9 years old, and have been a part of the organization ever since. Through the Pony Club, learning to ride a horse is just one aspect that you're taught. Kids learn everything there is to know about a horse, from its hooves to its ears. They also learn how to properly care for a horse on their own.

"Children learn all aspects about a horse including it's genetic defaults, nutrition, diseases, anatomy.... The Pony Club fully encompasses the whole gamete of owning a horse" Julie said. "It starts with basic stuff, but now Shelby is one level from being at the top of the Pony Club’s horse management pinnacle A rating.".

Every rating that Shelby has surpassed has been earned. In the upper levels national raters come and test both her riding ability and horsemanship knowledge.

Shelby started out at the Fallbrook Pony Club, where future Tokyo 2021 Olympian Liz Halliday-Sharp got her start as well. Shelby's family has since started their own Pony Club, San River Downs, which they saw was needed for Shelby in order to progress further in the sport. "She has her own motor and I'm just helping to guide her engine" mom said.

On top of being nationally ranked in her sport, Shelby is an awesome student and also works part time as a working student at Swift Ridge Eventing. She has a great head on her shoulders and is thinking about her future. Shelby has a goal of becoming a dental hygienist so she can make a living for herself and continue with Equestrian as her hobby. She's also working on her gold award for girl scouts and is a part of the national charity league with 500 volunteer hours logged over the last four years.

We asked Shelby's mom how she took the news about being ranked Number 1 in her Junior/training division.

"She's super humble and just happy that she gets to ride. Her main horse Sonik was injured a year ago, he had to have surgery and just came back for a show one month ago. So every ride that she gets to ride with her horses is a gift to her. Another horse she rides is Reverie. This horse is not easy, but Shelby rose to the occasion and they're doing fabulous. It's unusual for anyone to get 4 first places in a row in eventing. She could have done much more showing and earning points for the leaderboard, but she didn't want to possibly injure the horse. She said it's not worth it and she wants what's best for the horse".

Check out this video compilation created by Shelby of her past riding competitions with her Horse, Reverie GWF.  

That is where her horsemanship knowledge comes into play. On top of riding her horse, Shelby is there every day feeding, wrapping, exercising, grooming the horse, completely taking care of it as it is her responsibility. She knows what it's like to take care of a sick horse and understands what over-activity can do to them, so she refrained from showing too much. Being a part of the Pony Club and continuing her education in horsemanship has taught her a lot more than just being a passenger on a horse.  It’s a delicate dance between horse and rider, the ultimate partnership in a very challenging sport.

There are some Homeschool Programs that do not recognize Equestrian as a sport, which is why Shelby found a good fit with Elite.

She is able to get an unmatched education through Elite and Mr. Shirley and through the US Pony Club. The flexibility of Elite's program allows her to fit her riding and horse-training responsibilities in when she needs. It also allows her to teach younger kids in the Pony Club about riding and horsemanship.

"She'd love to help anybody who has any questions. She teaches horsemanship as part of the upper horsemanship rating responsibility and she also does it for the love of it" mom says.

Shelby is always looking for the next step, which is why she recently started looking into the different aspects of eventing. Eventing is described as the equestrian triathlon and is extremely rigorous. There are three phases: dressage, cross country, and show jumping. Shelby is looking into shadowing  cross country course designers/builders and learn more about that phase, which is the most dangerous. But her background in this sport has prepared her for taking this next step.

We have no doubt she will succeed in this event, just like she has in everything else. Shelby, thank you for choosing to Be Elite and representing our school so well!

If anyone is interested in joining the Elite Equestrian Team or would like to learn more from Shelby herself, please email our Community Coordinator, Kiley Allen [email protected]

Student News: Virtual Student Ethan Earns a Football Scholarship to Santa Margarita High

Elite Blog Logo

This past week, we had the opportunity to talk with the smart and incredibly talented Elite student Ethan Thomas, an 8th Grader in our Virtual Academy. He plays football and is an athlete at Platinum Athletics.

While Ethan was working out at Platinum, he heard from his coaches that Elite Academic Academy was an awesome school and they had many Platinum student athletes enrolled. Him and his mother, Alicia, decided to trust their coaches, and it paid off!

“I’ve been liking Elite and I feel like I’m learning a lot more than other charter schools that I’ve been to.”

Ethan enrolled in the Virtual Academy and Ms. Nicole Lively, now our school counselor, became his teacher.

Ethan is such a phenomenal kid and I’ve seen extraordinary growth from him this year,” said Ms. Lively. “Ethan, we are SO proud of how hard you have worked over the last year.

He has worked so hard that he was recently offered a full ride scholarship to Santa Margarita High School for the 2021/22 school year. He has found success in Academics at Elite and has been doing so great on the football field, that the school could not pass up this opportunity to snag him!

For Ethan, this scholarship is just the first step to a bigger dream of playing college football, getting his degree and making it to the NFL.

“When Santa Margarita came to my football game, they told me about their school but I didn’t have any way of getting there. It is pretty far from where I live. But when they offered me a scholarship and scheduled transportation, it really set the tone for me to go there,” said Ethan. “Also, it’s a really good school for my education and has a lot of unique courses and clubs that I could join too, and that’ll look good on my resume for colleges.

Ethan’s main goals in life are to work hard, get an excellent education and one day make it to the NFL.

“That’s one of my main goals right now is to just make it to college and play football in college, and have other opportunities to do a lot of good things,” said Ethan.

Out-Working the Others

One of Ethan’s mantras is to “Work hard when nobody else is willing to work and out-work everybody.”

And we see him live that motto so often at Elite.

Not only is Ethan a talented football player with the drive to make it, he’s also a very smart student.

He does well in school, and his Ms. Lively says he’s always there whenever there is a tutoring or extracurricular session available, especially in science–his favorite subject.

“I want to go to school so I can be an engineer and have a good fallback plan and be educated. I don’t spend all my money even if I do make it to the NFL.” said Ethan.

Ethan told us he is looking forward to being in high school and starting a new chapter in life.

“I’m most excited about the high school experience and and just having fun playing.  I will go to high school more serious and mature because I know how tough things could get because I’ve seen it before,” said Ethan. “I just want to do my best and I’m looking forward to playing a lot of football games and hopefully getting D1 offers to colleges throughout my freshman to senior years. I’m looking forward to a lot of extracurricular activities and all the clubs they provide like the robotics team.”

We are so proud of Ethan! We’ll leave you all with a small message from his Teacher of Record, Ms. Lively:

“It has been a privilege to be your teacher, Ethan – you are such a kind, dedicated, honest and funny young man. Alicia (his mother), you have done an amazing job raising such a wonderful son!”

We can’t wait to see Ethan’s academic and athletic career grow, and wish him the best at Santa Margarita High in the 2021/22 School Year!

To learn more about Elite Athletic Academy, head here


Elite's LIFE Course is Paying Off For Tiana Avetisian

Elite Blog Logo

High School is never an easy road to navigate, there are always going to be a couple of ups and downs. Fortunately for our students, we have Social-Emotional Courses through Ambassadors of Compassion (AOC) . These courses present an opportunity to mature in many different ways and positively impact their overall academic experience. One of these courses is our LIFE course! Labor, Influence, Forgiveness, Experiences (LIFE) is a course that helps students look within, and learn the importance of work to accomplish things that matter to them. You can learn more about it in this recent blog post.

Tiana, one of our High School Flex Academy Students, was brave enough to be one of the first students to enroll in this course this semester. She worked hard, changed her perspectives on her classes and completely turned her grades around! She's even got some A's currently despite English being her second language. Her LIFE Course Teacher, Mrs. Makkai, is particularly proud of her for coming out of her shell this semester and taking her life into her own hands.

From Tiana's LIFE course teacher, Mrs. Karen Makkai:

"Tiana really follows her schedule well - She is doing really well in the LIFE course and has been the perfect student to Pilot the course with as she is not afraid to ask questions. Tiana has become a very conscientious student, is now passing and even has some A's in her courses". 

Tiana has put in the work, and it's paying off with good grades and some new friends. When we asked her what the secret was to her success, Tiana felt that it was as simple as always asking questions and getting involved in school events.

We talked to Tiana about her recent accomplishments, and here's what we learned about her.

"I really like my LIFE course teacher because of her personality, and if i have any questions, I contact her," said Tiana. "What I have learned was that there's so much more to learn about myself that I don't know."

Tiana is active in our Lunch Bunch and the Art Club, and just about any event where she has the opportunity to chat with her Elite schoolmates. She is one of the reasons we decided to start our very own anime/comic club!  She expressed her interest on the topics and inspired other students to note their interest as well. Our staff jumped at the chance to put together this engaging and connective experience for our students. Tiana is one of the club's "founding" members.

"I always wanted to learn more about Anime and Manga drawing because I watch a lot of that genre. I'm hoping I can start my own Anime/Manga Club here at Elite. When I'm not gaming online, I'm chatting with my Elite friends," said Tiana.

It's not easy getting grades back up, and we're so glad Tiana had the courage to take this LIFE class to help her get back on track not only academically, but socially as she thrives with friends and leadership skills in taking on her new club. Congrats, Tiana!

"I love how they are teaching (at Elite) and how they inspired me to learn more about me. They taught me a lot over the past year that I've been with them and I am grateful to those who taught me". 

To learn more about the LIFE and RISE courses at Elite, read here.