Ryan (left) and Sammy (right) pose for a picture
First-year K12 International Academy (iCademy) students Sammy and Ryan Buggle never stop chasing their dreams, no matter what life throws at them. While 6-year-old Ryan is building his acting resume, his 12-year-old sister, Sammy, is making vlogs for her YouTube channel.
Janine Buggle, the children’s mother, decided to enroll Sammy and Ryan in iCademy after Ryan’s acting career took off. “The online school provides us with the flexibility we need as a family to travel to both coasts for him to work as an actor without missing school days,” she said.
Sammy is just like other seventh grader, although at just three years old, she was diagnosed with generalized absence epilepsy. As she has gotten older, her seizures have increased to over 100 a day, and her family is still trying to find the right medication to control them.
Janine explains that iCademy has been amazing for Sammy. “In brick and mortar schools she couldn’t keep up because of her seizures,” she said. “The school put her in pull-out classes and she encountered tons of bullying. We love that she can work at her own pace, and if she is ever having a day that she isn’t feeling well, she can communicate with her teachers and adjust her lessons.”
Sammy was also diagnosed with Sunflower Syndrome, which means she has extreme sensitivity to the light and sun. “It is very rare and has little research – we are hoping to change that,” Janine said. “She has been on over 10 different medications and still we haven’t found the answer.”
Sammy turned to making videos as a way to share her story with others. “Sammy decided herself at
10 years old to make a video about her epilepsy,” Janine said. “She wanted other kids to know that even though you have your obstacles you can overcome anything.”
Sammy says she wants to be a “YouTuber” when she grows up. “I want to make videos and make the world smile a little more,” she said. “Do not be defined by your limitations, but let them inspire you to make a change. Always be yourself and never be ashamed that you’re a little different, because different it awesome!”
Ryan on the red carpet.
Ryan’s latest acting job is co-starring as “Young Eddie” on Bryan Cranston’s new show, Sneaky Pete.
“The iCademy has made it so much easier for my kids to pursue their dreams,” Janine said. “It’s so nice to be able to say that we can travel anywhere for an acting job and that my kids wouldn’t have to adjust to a new tutor or return to school after a period of time. The consistency for our very inconsistent schedule is a blessing.”
So far, Ryan has only filmed the pilot of Sneaky Pete. “It was awesome,” he said. “My fake brother was fun and we played Legos. They had really good food on the set. I ate mac and cheese in the one scene, so I got to eat Mac and Cheese for like 30 minutes over and over – it was awesome!”
Ryan takes his acting career very seriously. “He’s a complete professional when working on a set, and he’s walked red carpets with big celebrities,” Janine said. “When he comes home though, he still has to pick up the dog poo and take out the trash. I always tell him you can become the most famous boy in the world, but if you don’t have a good heart none of it will matter.”
Another way he stays grounded is making sure to balance homework and auditions. “I do my schoolwork in the morning and afternoon, and then I usually have to go to the city later on,” Ryan said. “So I make sure it’s all done before I go to work. If I’m on set all day I do it in my trailer and go back and forth. I love school.”
Sammy and Ryan, who live in Matawan, New Jersey, just started classes last Tuesday. To celebrate going back to school, they had their home classroom decorated. Watch Sammy give a classroom tour here.
“The benefits [of iCademy] have been wonderful,” Janine said. “The staff and teachers have been so understanding and attentive to our needs as a family. The enrollment process was wonderful, and this transition has been very easy. The kids are so excited for the school year!”
Sammy tries to post daily vlogs during the weekdays. You can expect to see a behind-the-scenes vlog from Ryan and Sammy during New York Fashion Week later this month because they will both be walking in shows – Sammy will be walking for Elizabeth Cordelia and Ryan will be walking for Fun and Fun.
Janine thought she would appreciate the flexibility of online school most; however, she claims that it has actually been the people that make up the K12 staff.
“Having a child that suffers from over 100 seizures a day has its challenges, but having people that support her and care about her education and her wellbeing has been amazing,” Janine said.
Sammy at apple picking farm.
Sammy loves to feature her brother – and biggest fan – in her videos. “Before bed, me and Sammy cuddle and watch the videos together and I love that,” Ryan said.
Ryan, who just started first grade, loves to ride his bike, play soccer and audition for acting jobs.
“When I was three I begged my mom over and over to be on TV until she finally gave in,” Ryan said.
Janine is amazed by Ryan’s passion for acting. “It can be scary being part of the entertainment business,” she said. “The key is balance. Ryan has a passion for performing that I have never seen in a child so young. He loves to act with his whole heart.”
Sammy (left) and Ryan (right) on their first day of the 2016-17 school year.