Capistrano Connections Academy, graduated 89 seniors last week, including Arcadia-based Olympic badminton hopeful, Iris Wang.
Wang, 18, has made her international mark in badminton as member of the United State Pan American Games Badminton Team, winning silver and bronze medals at international tournaments in places like Peru, Russia, Brazil, Guatemala and London. Often traveling for weeks at a time, Iris was still able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and was selected as a class valedictorian. The virtual school’s flexible schedule allowed her to do her schoolwork remotely, and she even took her AP exams last month while training in Hong Kong.
She will attend UCLA in the fall to study business, and plans to hone in on her college studies more than badminton her first two years. Although badminton will remain a priority, as she aspires to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Team, and will cheer on her sister and doubles partner, Rena, as she competes in the London Olympics this summer (video of Iris and Rena competing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CGVftaTLxY)
Capistrano Connections Academy, a virtual public school serving K-12 students in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, graduated 89 high school seniors, the school’s largest class to date, during its commencement ceremony on June 11 in Laguna Hills, Calif. Teachers, staff, friends and family members celebrated the achievements of the class of 2012, which includes eight valedictorians, as the students accept their hard-earned diplomas and listen to speeches by principal Bill Crockett and three graduating seniors.
“We are extremely proud of the Capistrano Connections Academy Class of 2012,” said Bill Crocket, principal of Capistrano Connections Academy. “They have made great accomplishments over the past four years, and we are excited to see how they will continue to enrich their communities in the years to come.”
One of the 2012 valedictorians, actor Bridger Zadina, recently performed in a Rob Reiner play alongside Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Zadina, who enrolled at the school in his sophomore year, chose the program because it allowed him to successfully balance an acting career while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and taking several Advanced Placements (AP) classes throughout high school. He was accepted to his top choice university, The College of William and Mary, and plans to pursue a pre-med degree in the fall of 2013, following a one-year deferment to focus on his acting career.
Other Capistrano Connections Academy graduating seniors will continue their education this fall at top universities around the country, including New York University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; Boston University; and Pepperdine University.
“Our mission is to help each student maximize his or her potential and meet the highest performance standards through a program that fits their individual needs,” said Crockett. “Our teachers and advisors empower our students for academic and personal success through customized learning plans tailored to their individual backgrounds, strengths and challenges.”
Capistrano Connections Academy juniors and seniors find that the program’s flexibility has additional benefits for exploring and applying to college. They are able to adjust their class schedules around studying for the SAT or college visits, take more AP classes and explore passion areas through unique electives such as Digital Arts, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Engineering Design and Game Design. The school’s curriculum meets rigorous state, regional, and national standards for academic excellence. In fact, 96 percent of parents rated it high-quality according to the 2012 Capistrano Connections Academy Parent Satisfaction Survey.
The commencement ceremony is one of several traditional senior year events that the soon-to-be graduates are enjoying this spring. The Capistrano Connections Academy High School Activities Committee helped organize the school’s very first prom in May, and on June 13 students will spend their Grad Night celebration together at Disneyland. These events provide students with opportunities to socialize, build friendships and interact face-to-face with their peers. Students in all grade levels socialize through group labs, clubs and activities, school-sponsored events and field trips, and LiveLessons, virtual classrooms where students can communicate with peers and teachers in real time.