Snapshots of Success: Young Gigi LeMaire is taking her TV and music career to new heights
Welcome to this special series on the thinktanK12 blog, where you can meet students, parents, and educators who are discovering the power of learning with K12.
Gigi LeMaire is a very talented—and very busy—teenager. For over two years, she’s been one of the stars of the hit TV show “The Wannabes.” And since she was seven years old, she’s been a member of teen pop group Savvy. Starting last February, Gigi has also been enrolled in online private schooling via K12 International Academy. This month, she graduated to ninth grade.
Prior to K12, Gigi’s family tried other approaches to balancing her education and budding career, including traditional public school as well as homeschooling through a regional university program. We recently spoke with Gigi and her mother Christine—who founded and manages Savvy—about why they changed to K12, and how their first year has been going.
CHRISTINE: “We live outside of Houston, but we’re in Los Angeles a lot. The TV show has such a grueling schedule. When we filmed the first two seasons, we had tutoring on set in addition to Gigi going to school every day. But she still got behind by almost a year. With K12, Gigi has been able to catch up, so she’s now only six months behind other kids her age.”
GIGI: “It’s been going really well so far. We tried other options and K12 is the best. I can do school and still stay active with my singing and dancing and acting. K12 really helps out with my schedule.”
CHRISTINE: “Savvy has five members, which means there’s always down time when another artist is recording their part in the booth. So you’ll frequently find Gigi in the corner of the studio focused on her school work.”
GIGI: “We were recently in L.A. for three weeks, so I usually do school in the morning for three to four hours. Then we go to the recording studio and work. Whenever I’m free, I can always open up my computer and go straight to the website for the online school. And sometimes I flip-flop doing school with going to the gym, to keep up with all the dancing and routines we do.”
CHRISTINE: “While filming, Gigi was on set and oftentimes recording from early morning to late at night, with maybe an hour break in between. By the time things were over for the day, Gigi would often be too tired to concentrate. And the other homeschool program took so much time getting feedback to us. It really slowed her progress down.”
GIGI: “Yeah, one thing I like about K12 is that my work gets graded the second I complete it. With the other school, we had to print stuff out, put it in an envelope, send it off, and then wait for them to grade it and mail it back before I knew how I did. We lost so much time. I like how the K12 lessons give real-life examples to help you understand things. There’s a mix of everything in them—audio, video, and plenty to read. I love reading. I’d do it 24 hours a day if I could. In my history course, I actually spend a lot of time reading books before I take an online test.”
CHRISTINE: “Early on, I saw that Gigi wanted to be an entertainer. As a business woman, entrepreneur, and single mom, I decided to start Savvy to help her pursue her dreams. And it’s been an amazing experience, because it has allowed Gigi and me to work so closely together. I’m very grateful for it.”
GIGI: “K12 is really working for me right now. I definitely see myself continuing with them through high school. No matter what you want to do in life, an education is really important. You want to learn new things, and you want to have intelligent conversations with anyone you talk to.”
CHRISTINE: “Savvy just got signed to Lil Wayne’s label, Cash Money Records. So in 2012, they’re going to be hitting Top 40 radio. They just got back from Paris, where they were recording with Lady Gaga's hitmaker, RedOne. Their lives will never be the same! Embracing Gigi's passion has enabled me to find a new one, too. I think it’s really important for parents to continuously talk to their kids about their interests. And if they truly listen, they’ll know how to help them find their real passion. Sometimes, the life kids want is limited because they have to go to school all day. With the option of K12, so many opportunities open up for them. Gigi and I talk about the life that we want all the time. We visualize it, and meditate and pray, and we’re living it.”
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