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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Deer Park Home Link: Sara Haynes has sampled it all

Sara Haynes, Deer Park Home Link grad is looking forward to attending EWU in the fall.  (POP OF PURE PHOTOGRAPHY)
By Joe Everson For The Spokesman-Review

If the Deer Park Home Link Program had a throwback slogan, it might be “Variety is the spice of life.” And the perfect spokesperson for that would be senior Sara Haynes.

Haynes started at Home Link in third grade and has loved it ever since, taking advantage of every possible enrichment and extracurricular activity while also completing all the traditional academic core subjects.

“We live in Tumtum,” she said, “and it’s so far away from schools I wouldn’t be able to try the things I’ve done at Home Link. I’ve done karate, dance, gymnastics, cooking, piano and sewing. We’re able to take as many as 10 courses a semester, so here I’ve been able to try everything I wanted to try in one place. Home Link brings in parents and community members who specialize in specific areas.”

Home Link provides a curriculum library giving homeschool parents numerous instructional resources. Students typically attend Home Link two days a week, with a hybrid instructional model that may include traditional textbook instruction, online work or a combination. Academic courses are full-year, while electives are for one semester.

Haynes has also been involved in drama since her freshman year, although during her senior year, her participation has been limited because of her Running Start schedule. So instead of performing in this semester’s musical production, she is the stage manager for “Into the Woods.”

In addition to her coursework, Haynes volunteers with younger students in the program, helping as an instructional assistant in sewing and arts/crafts classes.

“Sara is hardworking, motivated, and organized,” wrote Home Link program coordinator Laurie Otteson, “and she has a heart for kindness and service. Her integrity and character make her a most valuable student.”

“The best thing about Home Link is that everybody knows everybody,” Haynes said. “That makes it easier to build connections with other kids and with teachers that would be more difficult in a regular school. I’m a really social person, and I’m way more social at Home Link than I would have been in another school. I take classes with a cross-section of students of all different ages.”

Haynes will attend Eastern Washington University in the fall, working to finish her prerequisites for the dental hygiene degree program. That career first caught her attention in her biology class, which included a week of study and observation of options in the dental field. She also was able to job-shadow a family friend who works as a hygienist.

She has only been able to attend Home Link one period a week during her senior year, by the end of which she will have completed 35 quarter credits (seven courses) of university work. And even as a homeschool student for most of her school years, she is looking forward to EWU.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” she said, “but that’s only because the people in my classes will be older. I’m actually more excited than nervous”