Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy's first graduating class turns their tassels, earns their diplomas

TULSA - The first graduating class of the Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy accepted their diplomas in Tulsa Saturday.

Thirty-one of the senior class' 50 graduates turned their tassels and tossed their caps in front of hundreds of friends and family members at the Tulsa Event Center.

The charter, established in 2011, is the virtual home to 2,100 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. The school pulls students from more than 250 districts across the state, according to Rick Mansheim, Head of School for OVCA.

Valedictorian Devyn Garcia spoke to her peers and the hundreds in attendance Saturday. Garcia, who is from Mustang and attended high school there, chose OVCA for her senior year as a way to find better balance between her schooling and work.

"I had a lot of flexibility. I was able to work and go to school and still do really well. And I really enjoyed that aspect of it," she said.

Garcia, who plans to become a criminal defense attorney, said it is still possible to build interpersonal relationships with classmates and teachers, but it comes in a different form.

"It is different because you're not around the everyday normal things that would occur in high school, but you still have the connection with the teachers in the students."

Her mother, Deana Anthony, admitted she wasn't sure about the virtual charter when her daughter said she wanted to make the move.

"I wasn't too excited about it quite honestly because I wasn't sure it would work as far as it being a disciplined environment and that sort of thing and her being disciplined enough to do it," Anthony said.

But now, Anthony said, she would recommend it.

"She's more responsible. I think she's always been very responsible, but I think she was even more so. She spent much more time working on her school work online it seemed."

Enrollment in OVCA for the next school year is currently open.

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