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Valedictorian meets some of her classmates for 1st time
Brieanne Jansen recently graduated from an online charter school as her class valedictorian and got to meet some of her fellow students for the first time at a graduation ceremony last month. Shell be attending Salem College on a full scholarship in the fall. - photo by Photo Contributed

Brieanne Jansen took math. 

She took English and history and various science classes, and she interacted with her fellow students just like you’d expect any other normal high school student to do. 

The only difference was she did it through a computer. 

And she did it well. 

Last month the Manteca senior graduated from her California Virtual Academy class as the valedictorian, and got the chance to meet some of the students that she had been interacting with from behind an LCD screen for, in some instances, the last several years at the in-person ceremony that brought students together from various parts of the state. 

According to Mina Arnold, the CVA Director of High School studies, it’s not uncommon for students in an interactive online class to be from different parts of the state – sometimes hundreds of miles apart. Other times, she said, they’re closer and have the option of participate in gatherings intended to provide the face-to-face relationships that most people think of when they think of high school. 

“They aren’t mandatory, and sometimes not everybody is able to participate in them – we have students that don’t meet their classmates that they’ve been working with sometimes for years until they come to their graduation,” Arnold said. “But we have students that get together for events and meet with teachers for study sessions and try and provide an environment and an experience that’s best for the student.”

Jansen appeared as a friend to Abigail Breslin’s main character in the “Kit Kitteridge: An American Girl” movie released in 2008, and became a local talent through her appearance in Manteca Idol competition with her amazing voice and dynamic stage presence that was beyond her years. 

She progressed on to write and perform her own music – recording as well – and joined a band in which her younger brother Josh played the drums. Performances were organized and scheduled through GK Music. 

For her outstanding work in the classroom, Jansen was awarded the President’s scholarship to Salem College in North Carolina which will take care of all of the costs associated with her education. She has accepted, and will be attending in the fall. 

The California Virtual Academy graduated more than 850 students at points throughout California. Students are taught by credentialed California teachers – Arnold said that the platform is basically an online charter school – and offers a unique alternative to traditional education methods. 

Jansen, who was homeschooled, followed the same track that many students do when they get to high school which is look for other education sources. 

“A lot of the time the material gets to be pretty complicated – when you’re talking about physics or things like that,” Arnold said. “It’s a dynamic and engaging program and platform, and we’ve found that students are really able to succeed. Just look at what Brieanne was able to do.”

For more information about the California Virtual Academy visit