Kaira Lewis, 18, spent three years in traditional high school before deciding to try something new: online learning.
“Regular school was not for me,” Kaira said. “I don’t fit into the system. Atlanta Virtual Academy has really helped me to grow and be different. I have supportive teachers and counselors here. They’re actually texting me, calling me, updating me on what’s important. I appreciate that a lot. The support.”
Atlanta Virtual Academy (AVA) is a fully accredited online learning environment that is available to middle and high school students in the Atlanta Public Schools system. When Kaira needs in-person instruction or consultation, she reports to Crim Open Campus High School, where she will graduate May 24.
When asked what obstacles she is most proud of overcoming, Kaira’s responded: “Myself. I was in my own way of greatness. If I knew what I know now, I would have made better decisions. I didn’t take school seriously and at one point, I wasn’t going to graduate. I really do think that coming to Crim as student was good for me because I was able to complete high school. I’m pretty proud of where I am now.”
For Kaira, traditional classroom settings were too distracting and overwhelming. She says she appreciates online learning because she has the ability to work at her own pace.
Upon graduation, Kaira plans to continue her education in a trade school. She hopes to attend Aviation Institute of Maintenance, where she’ll study aviation maintenance.
“You don’t see a lot of black women in that field,” she said. “I think I’ll shine better and stand out. I still want to start a business and have a decent job to fund the business.”
Well poised and articulate, Kaira says these attributes often come with judgement about her chosen path to trade school and pressure to attend a four-year college.
“I don’t like people’s assumptions about me,” she said. “They should encourage me to be what I want to be. Just because I keep myself clean doesn’t mean I don’t get dirty. … Looks can be deceiving. My goals are different. I strive to be the best at what I do. I’m going to turn something small into something big, not only in my life but in others.”
Kaira will deliver the commencement ceremony speech, where she plans to encourage her peers to aspire for greatness in all that they do.
“I feel like what I have to say is important,” said Kaira, giving a preview of her speech. “Your GPA does not define you. Your grades do not define you. You can do anything. You don’t have to be Einstein to do it. Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be stagnant. You can turn a business out of everything. You can find something you’re good at and expand on that. You don’t have to go to college. It’s not for everybody. It’s not for me. There are trade opportunities. Don’t shun those trades. That’s a decent living.”
|Post-High School Plans:||Trade School – |
Aviation Institute of Maintenance
|Area of Study:||Aviation Mechanics|
|Career Goal:||Aviation Mechanic and Entrepreneur|
Atlanta Public Schools will host high school commencement exercises Saturday, May 18 – Friday, May 24, 2019. All ceremonies — except Atlanta Classical Academy and Charles R. Drew Charter School — will be held at Georgia Institute of Technology, McCamish Pavilion,965 Fowler Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. For more information on commencement exercises, go to www.atlantapublicschools.us/gradnation.
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