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Idaho Virtual Academy’s (IDVA) Elijah Newberry is valedictorian of his class.

But before enrolling in IDVA, Elijah struggled in school. He was placed in small groups in elementary and middle school due to his Individualized Education Program (IEP). But when he started high school, his IEP was not followed and this was extremely overwhelming for Elijah.

“There were literally hundreds of students and the teachers had so much to do and so many students to work with that Elijah was being lost in the shuffle,” Michele, Elijah’s mother, said. “We had a big meeting with teachers and administrators and we were basically told that they did not have time to have students in mainstream learning who needed that much attention so Elijah would have to figure it out.”

The stress Elijah felt at school every day became detrimental to his health, both mentally and physically.

“He was struggling every day,” Michele said. “He started becoming physically sick every day and his grades were poor. We knew something had to change.”

Elijah enrolled in IDVA the second semester of his freshman year and his academic success began immediately.

“IDVA helped me succeed academically because not only could I work at my own pace in my classes, but my teachers were always available if I needed help,” Elijah said. “I wasn’t just another face in a sea of people to them. My teachers made me feel like I mattered and that if I had succeeded, then they had succeeded too.”

Elijah was able to academically thrive in IDVA, which helped him to accomplish something he never believed was possible: becoming valedictorian.

“When I started high school, I would have never thought this would be a possibility,” Elijah said. “It feels really good.”

IDVA gave Elijah the academic opportunities and support he needed and deserved. He is thankful to IDVA for providing him with an excellent education and the resources he needed to be a successful individual.

“My favorite aspect about IDVA is that it gave me freedom to achieve success in high school and learn at my own pace,” Elijah said. “I could take a little more time on something if I needed to or speed through something I already knew. It also allowed me to have a more flexible schedule to do extracurricular activities like Boy Scouts.”

Following graduation, Elijah will attend The College of Southern Idaho for two years to earn his Associates Degree.

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