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Washington Voices

WAAT’s Connor Lycan earned his graduation online

Thu., May 23, 2013

Connor Lycan, a senior at the Washington Academy of Arts and Technology, doesn’t see himself as a social butterfly. But he does see himself as independent.

It was his independence and a conversation with his mother and father that began in sixth grade that helped him choose his own path.

Lycan had been a student at East Valley’s Continuous Curriculum School from first through seventh grade and made the decision that he was going to begin his eighth grade year as an online student, through WAAT.

“I wanted to try something different,” he said. He felt that in a “regular” school a lot of time was wasted, but ultimately his decision was based on his morals and what went on at school, outside of the classroom. “I wanted to stay away from school to avoid bad influences,” he said. And, unlike a lot of kids his age, he wasn’t worried about missing out.

He had the full support of his parents and friends.

“At first it was a challenge to stay motivated, but then I feel like I worked hard. All of my motivation came from me, instead of a teacher telling me what to do,” he said.

It took Lycan a year to get motivated and set his own schedule, but once he began his freshman year, he’d gotten the hang of working on his own and motivating himself.

Lycan’s adviser, Ken Christen, began working with him in ninth grade. “He’s been motivated from the very beginning,” Christen said. He described Lycan as a good, independent worker who doesn’t back down from a challenge.

And even though he’s not at a traditional school, he’s still a regular teenager. He plays the guitar, plays basketball with his friends and likes video games. The Otis Orchards native lives on acreage with his mother, Renee, father, Rodger, grandmother Marilyn, three dogs and three horses.

Lycan is happy about his decision. He doesn’t feel like he’s missed out on anything and his alternative/online school experience has been a positive one. “I would make the same decision in a heartbeat,” he said.

He also feels that he wouldn’t have been as successful at a conventional high school. “I could’ve been successful there if I wanted to, but being here refocused and remotivated me. Your success or your failure is all on you,” he said.

Christen agreed that Lycan wouldn’t have been as motivated in a traditional high school. “There would’ve been a lot of distractions for Conner,” he said.

With graduation approaching, Lycan continues on his own path. The senior will graduate as one of WAAT’s valedictorians; he maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and has been taking Running Start classes at Spokane Community College. He’ll continue his classes at SCC in the fall, working toward his associate degree, and plans to open his own business in the future.

“I’m excited to get done with school and move onto the next phase of my life,” Lycan said.

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