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PA Virtual Graduate Drafted by the NHL


Photo Source: Twitter/ @MNWild

Less than two weeks after graduating high school, Class of 2017 graduate, Ivan Lodnia has been drafted by the Minnesota Wild!  

The 2017 NHL draft was held at the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks. Ivan and his family spent last weekend in the Windy City. Going into the draft, Ivan was ranked 37th among North American skaters and it was anticipated he would go sometime in the second or third round. Ivan spent the last two seasons playing right wing for 2017 OHL Champions, the Erie Otters. The Otters were the number one overall seed going into the 2017 playoffs, and defeated the Sarnia Sting, London Knights, Owen Sound Attack and Mississauga Steelheads to claim the J. Ross Robertson Cup.

Ivan enrolled in PA Virtual during his junior year, but has been cyber schooled since 8th grade. The flexible schedule allowed Ivan to balance school and classes, between the Otters practices, road games, and a hectic playoff schedule. 

Earlier this school year, Ivan was able to attend the annual NHL Scouting Combine that was held in Buffalo, NY with over 100 other NHL hopefuls. The combine took place from May 28 – June 3, when students in a traditional brick and mortar setting might be sitting in a classroom for a final exam.

“No matter what city I’m in, if I’m playing hockey, I’m doing what I love,” said Ivan, who over the weekend also expressed his excitement to be heading to Minnesota.

Ivan worked closely with his guidance counselor, Ms. Lombardo during his senior year. PA Virtual counselors are focused on helping students figure out what is best for them after graduation and take the right steps to get there. For Ivan, that dream was always the NHL, but he knew he had to finish high school first.  Ms. Lombardo helped Ivan’s teachers manage his hectic schedule. Knowing he may be working from a hotel, bus, or airport waiting room, it wasn’t uncommon for teachers to receive emails from Ivan during the wee hours of the morning. The cyber model allowed him to watch recorded versions of live classes at any time, and complete assignments on the go, as long as he had his laptop and an internet connection.

The entire PA Virtual family would like to congratulate Ivan on this amazing accomplishment and will be cheering for him every step of the way!


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PA Virtual Grad Joins the US Air Force

PA_Virtual_Grad_Enters_MiltaryThe 2017 school year just came to a close and for one student, it means the era of a new adventure!

Greg Whalen of Coatesville, is one of the few PA Virtual graduates who has decided to enter military service. Since the age of 12, Greg knew he wanted to be in the military. He considered all branches, but eventually chose to follow in the footsteps of his father and selected the US Air Force. Greg’s grandfather was also military, serving in the US Army. Under the current GI bill, once Greg finishes his time with the Air Force, he will be able to build upon the skills he learns with the military at a college or university of his choosing. 

Greg and his sister, Katelyn, (Class of 2015) started school at a private Christian school that was not close to home. Ultimately, the long daily drives took a toll on the family, and forced the Whalens to consider other options. The local school district did not appeal to the family so they opted to try a cyber school when Greg was in second grade. They bounced around for two years, before finally selecting PA Virtual and enrolled Greg when he was in fourth grade.

Over the years, Greg and his sister were both very active in their church while also volunteering at a local hospital. As they got older, both got part time jobs, which they were able to balance given the flexibility of cyber school. To Greg, the curriculum offered at PA Virtual was challenging, but not so much so that the course load was impossible.

“PA Virtual taught me to manage my own schedule and hold myself accountable,” said Greg. “I also learned what I’m really capable of – if I understand an assignment, I can complete it quickly and move on without having to wait for the rest of the class to finish.”

Currently, Greg is still going through the recruitment process which will take him the duration of the summer to complete. He anticipates entering basic training in the fall. The 8.5 week Basic Training for new Air Force recruits takes place at Lackland AFB just outside of San Antonio, Texas.

His advice for PA Virtual students: “Take advantage of every opportunity and learn as much as you can, as cyber school gives you the flexibility to do so much with your education.”

He also would advise students who are new to cyber school to not be afraid to ask questions. “Teachers can’t always see your face to recognize if you are struggling with a concept in class. Don’t hesitate to send an email with a question. PA Virtual teachers are always there to help their students the best they can.”

PA Virtual wishes Greg the best of luck as he enters the Air Force and thanks him for his choice to serve.


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Summer Reading Extravaganza

PA_Virtual_Summer_Reading_ExtravaganzaThe Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's (CLP) Summer Reading Extravaganza is one of the best ways we know to kick of summer reading! This annual outdoor festival offers music (we love Timbeleza!), crafts, games, storytelling, food trucks, and most importantly the opportunity to enroll in a summer reading program. This year PA Virtual gave participants the chance to express their creativity by making magic scratch bookmarks, which they can use all summer as they read their favorite books.

According to Story Pockets, the official blog for Children’s Services at CLP, "participating in a summer reading program can help kids and teens retain the literacy skills they have gained during the school year. Studies have shown that when kids and teens read during the summer, they are more likely to succeed when the new school year begins. Summer slide, or summer learning loss, can be challenged by reading books and engaging in out-of-school learning opportunities."
CLP's Summer Reading program allows readers to track the books they read over the course of the summer, participate in summer reading-themed programs and activities, and earn awesome prizes (like free books!). We loved meeting new families and helping make the Extravaganza a fun day, and we encourage YOU to participate in a summer reading program in your area! Contact your local library to see what programs they offer, or even make your own program. Whichever way you choose, summer is a great time to indulge in the sheer pleasures of reading!
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Posted on: June 20, 2017 by Andie Byron in

In the Community


PA Virtual Celebrates its first ever school wide Science Fair!


Organized by Mrs. Willits and Mrs. Burke, the first ever school wide virtual fair highlighted some key concepts and projects students studied throughout the 2016-2017 school year. Most science fairs take place in crowded gyms or classrooms, but in a virtual school, these teachers were faced with the challenge of bringing everyone together in a unique way - in a virtual classroom!

Students in younger grades tested scientific methods and basic concepts such as figuring out different solutions could clean pennies and experimenting with making crystals at home. Older students explored more in depth topics such as how music impacts your mood and researching acid reflux.

The following projects took first place within their respective grades:

Maryam Zaheer placed first out of all Kindergarten through 2nd grade students. Maryam found her inspiration for floating and sinking from SciShow Kids and tested what everyday objects found around her house sank or floated in water! Simple objects like toy rings, marbles, magnets and birds all produced varying results.

Taking first place in Grades 3-4, Matthew Brown took a deeper look at how dense objects float in salt water – like the Dead Sea. Because of the amount of salt in the Dead Sea, objects that would normally sink in regular tap water will indeed float in water that has been saturated in salt. Matthew used eggs and salt water to conduct his experiment with great success.

Blaise Krall also focused on a salt water based experiment, but wanted to see if he could emit an electric current from a battery to a light bulb using the water. He discovered that the salt water could act as an electrolyte and carried the electric current from a battery to a small bulb, but only if the water was continually stirred. He also managed to ionize the water, turning it yellow after his experiment concluded, which he did not predict in his hypothesis.

Seventh and eighth grade winner, Huda Syed took an in depth look at the way our bodies process pain, using a thermal grill, or sensory illusion. She hypothesized that by intermixing cold and hot sensations; the body would be confused and only allow her test subjects to feel one. Because nerves are stimulated with both sensations at once, only one set of signals (in this case, cold) can reach the brain first, causing a delayed reaction to the pain.

One of the most adventurous projects came from Robert Putnick, the 9-10th grade winner, who set a number of objects, including his hand, on fire! All in the name of science, Robert was actually testing a butane bubble and soapy water mix that he hypothesized would create a self-extinguishing flame, causing no damage to a variety of normally flammable substances. After successfully testing seven substances, Robert was confidently able to hold the flame in his hand and not get burnt.

*CAUTION: This experiment was performed under close parental supervision. 

Caitlin Wert, the 11 -12th grade winner, recreated an experiment that changed the history of science, illustrating how light waves can reflect and refract in different situations. Using the famous Young double-slit experiment as her inspiration, Caitlin created her own laser refractor using smoke on a thin pane of glass. With a laser beam, the slits she created diffracted the light and created cylindrical waves, generating patterns on a paper placed across the room. Caitlin discovered that something as simple as shaking the laser was enough to create new lengths and patterns.

Congrats to all our winners! Click here to view all of the 2017 Science Fair Projects.

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Posted on: June 14, 2017 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in |

PA Virtual Celebrates the Class of 2017 with College Acceptance Day!


Last Friday, members of the Class of 2017 shared their post-graduate plans with teachers, staff, and younger students. Our graduates shared a variety of plans including vocational school, two-and-four year colleges and universities, and even military service.

Faculty, staff, and students cheered on the graduates as the great news was shared. Many PA Virtual grads chose to stay local, while others are going to venture out of state.  Faculty represented their alma maters in well-worn t-shirts and favorite hoodies, while current graduates revealed their choices by showing off new gear featuring the names, logos or mascots of their chosen school. Future owls, lions and everything in between showed off their pride, and gave special shout outs to teachers and counselors who helped them along on this journey. Our staff always hopes to inspire and encourage students' dreams beyond PA Virtual, no matter where it takes them.

In total, the Class of 2017 has earned over $730,000 in scholarship funds! Within the graduating class, 105 students have committed to a variety of top tier two-and-four year colleges and universities or vocational schools, 36 already have jobs lined up and will start working after graduation, and five graduates plan to enlist in the military. There is no limit as to where a PA Virtual education can take you!

Watch the Class of 2017 graduate LIVE at 2 pm tomorrow at  

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Posted on: June 08, 2017 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in |

Checking in with the Hagar Family


From Left to Right: Morgan (Hagar) Kutz (Bride), Colton Hagar, Holly Hagar & Ridge Hagar

When Ridge Hagar walks at graduation on June 9; he will be the fourth and final member of the Hagar family to receive his diploma from PA Virtual Charter School. Ridge will attend Messiah College in the fall and join his sister as a member of the Falcon’s swim team. As he follows in the footsteps of his older siblings, we checked in with the Hagar family to learn more about their lives since graduating from PA Virtual!

Morgan (Hagar) Kutz, Class of 2011
Morgan graduated from PA Virtual and went to Messiah College where she graduated with a Bachelors in Nursing in 2015. She is currently a pediatric Emergency Room Nurse at Lehigh Valley Health Network hospitals and is taking a Pre-Hospital RN (PHRN) course for advanced nursing certification. Morgan was honored earlier this year at the 2017 Friends of Nursing Awards through the Lehigh Valley Health Network, where she received The Fleming Award for Exemplary Performance Associated with the Nurse Residency Program. Morgan married last year, and the above photo is the entire family enjoying her wedding! (Caption photo L to R)

Colton Hagar, Class of 2011
After PA Virtual, Colton went on to study Health Promotion, CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist) and minored in Psychology at Liberty University. He currently works as an Employment Specialist at the Penn Foundation which provides behavioral health services to patients in the Bucks County region. Colton has decided to further pursue his education and is currently working towards his Masters in Clinical Counseling Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis at Eastern University.  

Holly Hagar, Class of 2015
Holly is currently entering her third year at Messiah College where she is pursuing a double major in Biopsychology and Psychology with a Clinical Concentration. She is the first at her school to pursue this degree. She was recently inducted into the honors society for the department of Psychology at Messiah. She swims competitively for the Falcon’s Women's Swim Team who have been the reigning conference champions for the past four years. Holly is also a student ambassador for the college and plans to continue her education in graduate school to receive her certificate to be a licensed occupational therapist.

The Hagar family has been with PA Virtual for over 10 years! All four siblings were heavily involved in their local youth group, piano studio and swim club during their time at PA Virtual. Through their stellar academic performance each of the Hagar siblings secured different scholarships to help offset the cost of their college education. PA Virtual routinely has the highest graduation rate among cyber charter schools, and prepares its graduates to attend top colleges and universities across the country.

How far can PA Virtual take you? Find out today! Take the first step in taking control of your educational experience and learn more about how PA Virtual can help jumpstart your future!

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