The 2017 Topeka Capital-Journal All-State Academic Team celebrates the best and brightest students that Kansas has to offer. The newspaper selected 30 students out of the 169 nominees from across the state based on their achievements in academics, extracurricular activities and community service. Of the 30 All-State Academic Team members, one attends school online.
Meet Charlie Heminway, a senior at Insight School of Kansas (ISKS) who graduated from the school on June 3.
Charlie attended ISKS for his final two years of high school, which was his own idea, according to his father, Jeff. Charlie came home from a summer humanities program at Stanford University “more determined than ever to study more extensively,” Jeff explained. “We live in a small, rural district where the kids are often doubled up to take the graduation requirements; there simply aren’t the resources available to also offer honors or AP classes.”
ISKS did offer those advanced classes, which was what drew Charlie to the online school.
“He made a reasonable case, and his mother and I agreed to let him give it a go,” Jeff said, adding that he feels his son has been challenged academically at ISKS. “He enjoyed being challenged by peers who had also chosen honors or AP courses, and his teachers were enthusiastic and engaging.”
In addition to his advanced-level courses, Charlie also took classes at Hutchinson Community College “to further challenge myself,” he said. “The flexibility of online school allowed me to shape my academic program to fit my needs.”
Charlie believes ISKS taught him skills that have better prepared him for college and his future.
“Online learning requires discipline and integrity,” he said. “My study skills and time management were honed by independent learning.”
Jeff echoed his son’s sentiments. “The freedom offered by online school forced him to develop organizational and time management skills that he probably would not have learned in a traditional classroom,” he said.
The flexibility that ISKS provided also allowed Charlie to volunteer in his community, where he tutored and also gave his time to a senior residential care facility, a local food bank and a historic theater. In addition, he took advantage of some of the extracurricular activities that ISKS offered, including leadership club and student council, where he served as senior class representative.
Charlie plans to study philosophy and law at Kansas University on a Chancellor Scholarship this fall. He was accepted to the honors program, as well as the Legal Education Accelerated Degree (LEAD) program, which will allow him to start law school during his senior year and earn his law degree in six years rather than the more traditional seven. He hopes to one day become a district attorney or federal prosecutor in order to help make his community a better place for people of lesser means.
“I firmly believe that our communities are what we make of them,” he said. “I want to build a stronger, safer environment through the legal community. I want to be an advocate for the fair and equitable application of justice. I hope to participate in building a state where everyone is safe, included and able to thrive.”