Why we Chose PA Virtual – The Darkey Family

Why I Chose PA Virtual- The Darkey FamilyAfter deciding she wanted to focus on a competitive tennis career beyond the high school level, Julia Darkey, a former student in the Manheim Township School District, has found a great balance by enrolling at PA Virtual.

“In Lancaster County the idea of homeschooling is very common, but not so much cyber school,” said Renee Darkey, Julia’s mother. “We knew another local family through tennis who had a great experience with PA Virtual and knew it was the right place for Julia.”

Each year the media reports stories of cyber students who face challenges when trying to attend their local proms, homecoming or take part in district activities- a practice that is illegal per charter law – because they are not considered “district students.” The Darkey family, however, has never experienced this with MTHS.

Coaches and the administration have since gone above and beyond to make sure that Julia is always included in school team activities, despite the fact that she isn’t present in the same classrooms as her teammates during the day.

Not only does she still play as a member of the MTHS tennis team, Julia was selected as a Lancaster-Lebanon League All-Star this year and the team was a semi-finalist in the PIAA State Championship. She also frequently attends dances or other social functions at MTHS, just by showing her PA Virtual ID card.

Outside of MTHS, she frequently travels to Philadelphia to train at local tennis clubs and spends anywhere from 2-5 hours practicing each day. PA Virtual gives Julia the ability to complete her school work on the go and never get behind or worry about missing days due to tournaments or travel!

“As a parent, I feel very connected to other families in our area,” said Renee. “Our local Family Support Coordinator (FSC), Heidi Lightner welcomed us when we were new to PA Virtual and is always encouraging the students to get together socially and through community service-based outings.”

As a junior going through the college application process, the Darkey family loves how easily accessible all of Julia’s grades and transcripts are through PA Virtual’s online learning system. The school uses Naviance, a college and career readiness software, where transcripts can be sent directly to colleges at any time. After graduating as a member of the Class of 2018, Julia hopes to secure a tennis scholarship and is setting her sights on smaller Division 1 schools. Going back to her mother’s southern roots, she is currently looking at schools specifically in the North or South Carolina.

Do you have a student who excels in athletics or the arts and could benefit from PA Virtual’s flexible scheduling? Request more information here.

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