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Laura Majewski (center) pictured on Acceptance Day at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Laura Majewski is three months into four years of hard work at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA.) Out of 2,000 applications, Laura was one of 250 students from around the world selected this year to attend USMMA.

This K12-powered student attended Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) for middle school and Insight School of Washington (ISWA) for high school. She graduated from ISWA and Everett Community College this past spring.

USMMA is one of the five U.S. Service Academies, but it is unique in some key ways. “As of August 5, the Class of 2020 were sworn in to the Naval Reserve,” Laura’s mother, Jean Majewski said. “This makes USMMA the only service academy whose members could be called in to service at a time of war. They are all Naval Reserve midshipmen.”

At the end of their four-year education at USMMA, Laura and her classmates are committed to serving either eight years in the Naval Reserve or five years active duty in the branch of their choice: Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army or Coast Guard.

“I believe that being an online student allowed for an easier transition for Laura to USMMA,” Jean said. “As an online student, being self-motivated and having good time management skills are keys to success. These qualities have served Laura well, not only through the extensive application process, but at the Academy as well.”

Laura’s time at USMMA has been challenging so far, but it also has been very rewarding.

“I’ve learned so much,” Laura said. “I noticed definite academic, personal, and professional development and growth in myself, which makes all the hard parts of being here worth it.  The hardest thing is being so tired and having to do so much during the day.”

Laura usually gets to bed around midnight and sometimes has to wake up at 4:30 a.m.

“We have regimental duties in the morning, and classes go from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,” she said. “We have some regimental training in the evening as well, and then the rest of the evening is for studying, cleaning, and working out.”

The 18-year-old has many accomplishments since starting at USMMA, including becoming a member of the Color Guard and being selected as one of two Company Fitness Officers.

Her mother explained that Laura’s passion for serving her country was aided by online school because it allowed her to spend more time with her family.

“We have always tried to instill a sense of respect and gratitude for our servicemen and women,” Jean said.

Laura participating in Color Guard.

Laura’s parents were homeschooling their children before enrolling with WAVA. The family first learned about K12 when they saw an advertisement for ISWA.

“I was attracted to this idea because I wanted to be sure they were getting all the necessary academics through the high school years,” Jean said. “Our son wasn’t high school age yet, but we were mentioning it to someone we met at a summer BBQ and they told us about WAVA. We learned as much as we could about it and decided it would work well for our family.”

Jean appreciates that through online school, she could stay hands-on with her children. “I could be aware of what they were learning while knowing they were also receiving any additional support they needed from dedicated and caring teachers, as we came to find out was the case at both WAVA and ISWA,” she said.

Laura, who hails from Everett, Washington, also attended a specialized Running Start program called Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) through Everett Community College.

“Through the director of ORCA, she learned of a part-time position as a deck hand on a commuter ferry to Hat Island,” Jean said. “It was this job that awakened her passion for working on the sea and it seemed natural to her to combine that passion with service to our country.”

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