Graduate Spotlight

Gavin L.

Gavin Lo
Gavin L.

Gavin L.

Gavin L. joined Ocean Grove when he started 10th grade; and graduating High School this year after 11th grade. Ocean Grove for him is not 'Parents' Choice' - it is 'student-choice'. He really enjoyed it much more than brick-and-mortar school.I wished we had known about "independent learning option" since he was much younger but glad that we made the switch. We really appreciate our ES Sondra Wheeler and Counselor Claire Priddy and many other helpful staffs in Ocean Grove along this fast transition and high school journey over the next 2 years. He is going to Georgia Tech this Fall to pursue Computer Science. 

Below is his own writing on why he chose Ocean Grove as part of his Common App.

Common App: Please provide details about why you left each of the above secondary schools. (250 words)

Since preschool, I had always been in brick-and-mortar schools. I always questioned why the teachers had to repeat a concept so many times and why I had to do the same type of homework repetitively. The only answer I always got was that that’s how school works and everyone does it. When I was in 2nd grade, my parents moved me from a public school to a private school known for fast-paced academic programs, but later, in 6th grade, I returned to a public middle school because I still didn’t feel like I was learning much. I continued to complain about being bored at school even after I entered high school.

In 9th grade, when searching for Cybersecurity courses online, I discovered Coursera. I immediately loved it and have taken many courses on Coursera since then, doing very well in each. I was still at Monta Vista full time, and traveling around California every few weekends with my Science Olympiad team at various competitions, but with my experience taking the OSCP, a widely respected professional certificate, my parents and I were finally convinced that I needed an alternative education option.

After much research about alternative school systems, I switched to Ocean Grove, an accredited online charter school, in 10th grade, which provided much more flexibility, allowing dual enrollment with Foothill College on certain classes, along with the added perk of being able to graduate in three years because I can learn subjects I truly enjoy at an accelerated pace.

Common App: Please use the space below to provide details about the change in progression through secondary school that you indicated above (250 words)

My first semester in Ocean Grove felt like starting high school again, very similar to how I felt as a new student in Monta Vista in 9th grade. I had a lot of classes and homework, especially due to the intensity of the college classes, but handled them quite well. The dual enrollment with Foothill College turned out well, better than I had expected. For example, in my Physics class, the Professor made exams that were based off understanding of the material, and the ability to use them to solve complex, multi-step problems without aid, instead of perfecting the ability to solve individual, single-step problems with the same structure as the homework questions.

The other college classes were more challenging as well, and Calculus was both fast-paced enough for me not to be bored and advanced enough for me to learn something. The combination of Ocean Grove online classes that I could take at an accelerated pace and Foothill college classes that have allowed me to amass more credits both helped me achieve my goal of finishing high school in three years.

Most importantly, this flexible system allowed me to do well in school while doing my own programming projects on the side. At the same time, I organized a lot of STEM workshops with STEMBoost. We will also be hosting the first ever Silicon Valley Science Olympiad Invitational Competition. I look forward to going to college so that I can work on more advanced projects with others.

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