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Carolyn Fabis is a social studies teacher at Idaho Virtual Academy (IDVA).

Paiton Lewis, an 11th grader at Idaho Virtual Academy (IDVA), chose to use his most recent summer vacation to improve his public speaking skills. The 15-year-old volunteered with the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey. 

As a volunteer, Paiton assisted with various bird presentations and answered visitors’ questions about the birds. 

Paiton liked birds before entering the program; however, upon its completion, he gained a vast knowledge, appreciation and respect for them,” said his mom, Christie. 

“I wanted to learn more about the fascinating birds of prey around the world,” Paiton said. “The raptors themselves are beautiful, and I also wanted to tell other people about them and why they need protection.” 

The World Center provides classes for its volunteers to learn about the numerous bird species as well as the center in general, so they are well prepared to answer questions from visitors. 

“Bird enthusiasts from all over journey to the World Center for Birds of Prey,” said Christie. “Paiton met families from as far away as China and India, just to name a few! It really did make a noticeable difference in his public speaking skills.” 

The Peregrine Fund supports any endangered raptor species in the world.  

“I am definitely better at public speaking than when I started,” Paiton added. “I also got to hold two live raptors! And I learned a whole lot of raptor facts. For example, there was a time when there were only 22 California Condors left in the entire world – but don’t worry, their numbers are steadily increasing now.” 

IDVA math teacher Susan Davies recommended Paiton for his position because of his work ethic and positive attitude. 

“I watched Paiton work steadily and consistently,” she said. “His attitude is positive and he is eager to learn. Paiton is well aware that success comes from working hard and having goals.” 

Paiton has attended IDVA for two years, and he and his mother are both happy with their experience with the school. 

“We think it’s an excellent program! The teachers and counselors have been so helpful to us,” she said. 

Paiton, who is in the process of starting his own business and is shadowing at a local company while also learning how to drive, appreciates the flexibility that IDVA offers. 

“I appreciate the ability to set my own schedule,” he said. “IDVA allows me to do school and still have time to do what I want to do and learn at my own pace.” 

About The Author

Carolyn Fabis

Carolyn Fabis has been a social studies teacher at Idaho Virtual Academy (DVA) since 2012. She has taught in the alternative high school social studies program since its beginning. Carolyn earned a bachelor's degree in marketing communications with a minor in psychology from Columbia College Chicago and a master's of education degree in technology from University of Phoenix, where she also earned her 6-12 teaching credentials. Carolyn lives in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and two children. For fun, she loves gardening camping, hiking and traveling with her family.

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