The Virtual Academy Experience, Through the Eyes of 8th Grader Hannah Phan

Elite teacher Vanessa Vosburg is very proud of Hannah Phan, a hard working and dedicated 8th grade student in Elite’s Virtual Academy. Hannah is a joy to meet with and her enthusiasm rubs off on the teachers who get to work with her. Hannah is very thoughtful and insightful, often turning meetings with Ms. Vosburg into literary analysis and various discussions. When she isn’t conquering her classes, Hannah enjoys reading, playing board games and video games, or practicing skateboarding!

Recently, Hannah was asked to share her thoughts about her experiences with Elite. In response, Hannah penned the below essay, which she has graciously allowed us to share with everyone.

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Lately, because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, many schools have been converting to online schools and students have had their first experience in the world of virtual school. Online school has earned a smudged reputation because of this. Students entered virtual school in a
harsh and swift manner and in an unprepared state of mind, and therefore some have negative feelings towards it. They were not able to be eased into the virtual school environment and instead were thrown into it without a choice. This essay is for students and parents alike to
inform them of why online school is actually the most favorable choice for them or their child.

The environment of a home virtual school is, well, home! Because of the ongoing virus, schools have needed to transform their educational environment into virtual studies to allow people to stay home and social distance. Students can work on their schoolwork in the comfort of
their own home or anywhere they have an internet connection. All of their supplies and materials are easily accessible. Students of official online schools and academies do not have a tight and early schedule to adjust to; instead they can craft their own daily work calendar to keep
themselves on task. Even while working at home, they can still easily separate their school and home life. Crafting a daily work schedule for school will help them to set times to work and times to chill, nap, eat, read, exercise, etc. Virtual students can also separate their school and
home lives by having a designated work area, such as a desk or table, that is separated from where they spend their free time. The comfort and accessibility of a home environment allows students to focus more easily on their schoolwork. At first, having your school life in the comfort of your own home can feel intrusive and it can be a challenge to separate work from play, but both lives combined in one place is more advantageous than you would think.

There are virtual school advantages for parents, too! Having your kids get ready to go to school in the mornings and picking them up when school is out can be a hassle and frustrating to your own work and home life. With online school, you also don’t have to worry too much about your gas tank. A survey by SchoolCountry.com shows that commute costs can make up 12-18% of total school fees. Yet, students could get restless at home without any school events to attend; however, Elite Virtual Academy (EVA) offers many different exciting and engaging field trips for virtual students. Students can choose from local or long-distance field trips and can find activities that meet their needs; such as music or dance lessons, or even joining a sports academy if they are interested.

Virtual school comes with many more perks and advantages than just being at home. Elite Virtual Academy charges no fees of any kind for any applications, classes, tutoring, materials, etc. In fact, EVA gives students the opportunity to earn free mailed goodies and prizes
to them. They host art contests, video contests, name drawings, and more that earn students goodies and cool Elite merch. I have personally won art supplies for placing in an art contest (a sketchbook and fine tip gel pens along with Elite Academy sunglasses). Parents don’t have to worry about that extra burden on their wallets and bank accounts by not having to pay for books, tuition, tutors, stationary, uniforms, commute fees, lunch, and more.

With online school comes quite a few personal benefits. In Elite Virtual Academy you can work at your own pace and there are no mandatory due dates, only at the end of each semester. Students of EVA have periodic virtual meetings with the teachers that are both educational and enjoyable. They are especially helpful and productive because of the one-on-one help and tutoring that the students usually would not receive in the average school classroom. Virtual students also have the opportunity to spend more personal time going out and spending
time with family and friends. Students gain both academic and personal advantages when schooling at home.

Doing physical education (P.E.) in the comfort of your home is a much more enjoyable activity because of the ability of personalization. As an eighth grader, in P.E. class I am required to perform forty minutes of P.E. daily and to submit what I did and for how long at the end of each week. The best part is that any type of exercising is acceptable. You can walk your dog, swim, dance, skateboard, bike, do cardio, play sports, weightlift, do yoga… you get the idea.Having the choice of choosing what to do for P.E. class while still having to meet a certain criterion makes us students work and play hard while still having fun by doing our own undesignated physical activities. P.E. makes up for sitting at our screens a majority of the day, and, of course, it helps us stay in a healthy, happy condition.

Studying at Elite Virtual Academy is a blessing for students and parents alike. You or your child being able to stay in the safety of their homes during this pandemic is both reassuring and beneficial. The accommodations and compromises made to fit a student’s personal life are
immensely useful to their individual lifestyles and academic well-being. The absence of fees and the companionship of their teachers also contribute greatly to their education. The capability of personalized and private physical activities motivate students to stay on task with their P.E. and contributes to a healthy mind and body. My experience as an eighth grader in Elite Academy has genuinely been exciting and influential. The material I learn on the daily inspires me to continue to learn more and I truly retain that information. One of my favorite perks of online school is the personal free time, which I can utilize to work on my mental health and physique. Virtual school allows me to use my time for self care and it puts no strain on my academic performance, unlike the pressuring workloads and schedules of traditional schools. Taking everything into account, online school is the most desirable option for both children and their parents because of the
easygoing, financially beneficial, and low-pressure environment at home.

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