Derek Brown graduated from the IDEA Homeschool program, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Derek Brown graduated from the IDEA Homeschool program, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A unique ceremony for a unique school

IDEA home-school students graduate

A statewide home-school program graduated 45 Kenai Peninsula students Saturday afternoon.

IDEA Homeschool is a statewide home-schooling program that began out of the Galena City School District in 1997.

The program has a handful of local offices across the state, including on the Kenai Peninsula, where the program serves nearly 1,000 students.

“It’s an amazing program,” Dean O’Dell, the site administrator for the local office, said. “We serve quite a few families here.”

O’Dell said the IDEA Homeschool graduation is not a typical ceremony.

“Our ceremony is a little different than most,” O’Dell said. “Instead of administrators handing diplomas to students, we encourage the parents to take part and hand the diplomas to the students. It’s really quite special and unlike most ceremonies.”

Caroline Huber, a senior who graduated this year, said her favorite part of studying in the program was being able to focus on her vocal studies.

“I got to go to Anchorage and take voice lessons from a professor at UAA,” Huber said. “I hope to go into vocal performance.”

She said being home-schooled her whole life has allowed her more freedom and to be closer to her family.

“I feel like public school probably wouldn’t bring that,” Huber said.

Huber will be attending bible school in Wyoming, and then go onto a four-year university.

The IDEA home-school program has allowed graduating senior Derek Brown to go to school at his own pace, he said.

“I went to public school for a year and it did a toll on me,” Brown said. “In this program, I’ve been able to not stress as much. I can move at my own pace and do my homework anywhere.”

Now graduated, Brown is gearing up for a two-year mission with his church.

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