Breaking News
More () »

WPMT FOX43 | News in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Lebanon News, Weather, Sports

15-year-old in Mechanicsburg graduates high school, owes success to online learning

A 15-year-old girl from Mechanicsburg credits her early high school graduation to online learning

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Cyber schools are often spoken negatively about by traditional school districts, but during this pandemic they've had a leg up.

Can you remember what you were doing this time of year when you were just 15 years old? Neither can I. One thing I wasn't doing was graduating high school.

"Yeah - I don't know I think it's something interesting," Michelle Donaghy said. "But I was like so motivated to keep moving in my education that I was like, 'I'm just going to keep going and that's kind of what happened'."

Donaghy, a student at Commonwealth Charter Academy since kindergarten, was able to double up on credits, skip a few grades, and even take a college class before getting behind the wheel of a car.

But the credit, she said, goes to her online learning.

"Yeah, Zoom is normal," Donaghy said. "it's been a good 4 years of zoom."

And she loves it. The flexibility, the teachers, and yes, the social interactions.

"One thing our students learn by going to school in this environment is that you can build relationships, you can collaborate," Dr. Reese Flurie, CEO of Commonwealth Charter Academy, said. "And you can work cooperatively in this environment."

Dr. Flurie said the next generation can thrive in the many remote ways of learning that have been adopted by schools across the world because of COVID-19, and that success isn't dependent upon in-person interactions.

"Our students have learned that you can be in different parts of the state, different parts of the country, different parts of the world, and collaborate," Dr. Flurie said.

"You can really thrive in it. If you really have that motivation and you kind of need that self-discipline," Donaghy said. "As soon as you become accustom to that environment, it just becomes more natural."

Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., Michelle and hundreds of her classmates will graduate via a virtual ceremony.

The ceremony is available to the public and can be viewed at https://ccaeducate.me/graduation2020.