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There’s a debate here in South Carolina, and across the country, about the value of online schooling. As we fight against the coronavirus, what was once an alternative is now becoming mainstream. However, those who argue that online education holds students back don’t understand the value this option provides.

I know this because I am a graduate of an online school. When many, through no fault of their own, abruptly moved to a virtual option in the spring, I was in my last semester at the Cyber Academy of South Carolina. Attending school this way, even before the pandemic began, provided me an opportunity to pursue my dreams and discover a path I never would’ve imagined. And it has the potential to offer countless students the same experience.

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For example, being in a class with students from across the state showed me the importance of diversity, not just in skin color and background, but truly getting to experience differing viewpoints. While our nation grows increasingly divided, having the opportunity to hear contrasting opinions strengthened my ability to interact with others. We weren’t forced to conform to a mold; rather, we embraced our differences and learned from each other.

Online schooling also provides an opportunity to be exposed to classes that aren’t offered at one’s local school or district. I took classes focusing on health care, which are leading me to pursue a career in nursing. Best of all, the online school schedule allowed me to take college courses while still in high school. Graduating with 29 college credits means I’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing at just 19 years old.

Let’s settle the debate: Online schooling works. Our world is moving in a digital direction, and our schools must keep up. It’s time we combat the digital learning curve and give students the tools they need to succeed.

Julie Canete


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