Aves Academy gives students alternative learning options

Aves Academy has allowed many rising athletes and musicians to accomplish their goals. Jackie Tso, 12, has been playing violin since she was two years old. Aves Academy has enabled her to travel all around the world for various violin camps and competitions. Image by Anna Zhou.

Often times, students at SHS think students that attend Aves Academy are ‘kids who get in trouble.’ However, that is not the case. Attendees of Aves Academy are a very diverse group of students just like all other SHS students, with one goal: to obtain their high school diploma.

Created in 2008, Aves Academy is an option for students that feel classrooms at SHS are not the best learning environments for them. Aves Academy gives students a more flexible schedule and allows them to take online classes in a smaller setting.

“[Aves Academy] is a whole new world. For one, it’s a classroom that’s not separated by brains or interests or anything else. Which is a very different culture, but a cool one,” said Mackenzie Boyd, 11.

There are many reasons SHS students choose to attend Aves Academy.

“We have had several students who have come to Aves Academy not interested in school anymore, entered online classes, and set goals for themselves with our teachers,” said Mrs. Marilee Tanner, administrator of Aves Academy.

With the ability to take control of their own education, students can accelerate their coursework or take more time to focus on their classes. Often times, students at Aves Academy have been able to graduate and receive their diplomas early.

“We also all go at our own paces, and in classes that are extraneous and super simple, they go by in a breeze, while more challenging classes take ages. One class will take three days to complete while another will take a month. In the course of one semester, I’ll have completed 8 credits,” said Boyd.

During the five years of Aves Academy’s existence, several rising athletes and musicians have been able to stay connected to Sycamore, receive their SHS diplomas, and continue to compete around the world.

“I’ve been able to achieve my dream of becoming a nationally and internationally ranked figure skater. Because of Aves Academy, I was able to train intensely but also keep up with my schoolwork. Academics are very important to me and I was accepted to my dream college, Harvard,” said Christina Gao, ’12.

Although Aves Academy students have a more flexible schedule and the ability to pace their own schoolwork, they must meet set deadlines like all other students at SHS.

“[Aves Academy] is just as demanding as going to regular classes! I had to meet deadlines and stay on top of my obligations in order to make it work out,” said Gao.

Regardless of the reason students choose to attend Aves Academy, the many alternatives to traditional classroom study have helped countless students achieve the goal of receiving a high school diploma.

“The combination of normal school and Aves is going to be how schools work in the future. It’s the best way I’ve ever seen a school function,” said Boyd.