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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Senior Katia Chylinski set to graduate with over 60 college credits

Senior+Katia+Chylinksi+is+a+dedicated+track+and+field+athlete%2C+and+strives+to+pursue+her+extracurricular+passions+while+simultaneously+managing+her+time+as+a+full+time+VLACS+student.+
(Photo by Katia Chylinksi)
Senior Katia Chylinksi is a dedicated track and field athlete, and strives to pursue her extracurricular passions while simultaneously managing her time as a full time VLACS student.

To graduate from LHS, students are required to obtain 24 credits prior to graduation. For some students, fulfilling those 24 is completely satisfactory. But for others, like senior Katia Chylinski, they set their hearts on going above and beyond. 

When Covid struck full force, the transition from in person to online learning was altogether daunting for students and staff alike. However, for senior Katia Chylinski, learning online had been something she’d been doing for years. 

Chylinski first started using VLACS (Virtual Learning Academy Charter School) over the summer of seventh grade (2018). This learning platform, which offers free classes to students k-12, and under 21-years-old, allowed Chylinski to spend more time with a family member who had become ill over the school year.  

“Nobody knew what each day would bring,” Chylinski said. “Each second of time saved by learning online became priceless.”

Chylinski was also driven to make the switch from public school to online learning due to a “difficult situation” she’d faced with one of her peers during seventh grade. 

“The school can’t prevent contact between students,” Chylisnski said. “This can put mistreated students in uncomfortable positions. I wanted to try VLACS out to see if I would enjoy this style of learning where I’d be unhindered by classroom distractions.”

Chylinski wanted to see “how it would go” before switching over completely to VLACS, so she “eased [herself]” into this learning platform during the summer before eighth grade. Chylinksi started with a high school class – Honors English 1 – to get a feel for how the curriculum would run. 

“I certainly had a learning curve when first taking my Honors English 1 class,” Chylinski said. “The format of the class confused me at the very beginning, so my grade was not ideal. Within a few weeks, though, I’d gotten the hang of how the class was formatted, and where everything was, and was beginning to appreciate the flexibility it gave me.”

Soon after she got the hang of this new style of learning, Chylinksi found herself adding Honors Physical Science, Honors World History, French, Personal Fitness, and Wellness to top off her VLACS class schedule. 

“I was initially planning to use VLACS temporarily and then switch out and be a full time public student,” Chylinski said. “I thought VLACS would provide me with personal educational benefits by accommodating my personal life while helping me take charge of my education and learn at my own pace. And, I became a full-time [VLACS] student the following year.”

Since the beginning of her VLACS education, Chylinsky had always been on top of things, and was able to develop “good time management skills” early on. When she made the switch from public school to online school, Chylisnki was forced to put those skills to use in order to create her own schedule as a student. 

“Since you don’t have someone over your shoulder making sure you’re in class or working, it has opened up my schedule by letting me work almost anywhere or anytime I want to,” said Chylinski. 

Not only has Chylinski developed the skills and experience to manage time effectively, she’s also been able to meet people from “all walks of life,” since VLACS makes sure to emphasize the vitality of collaborative work requirements. 

“I even met and became friends with a student serving as a missionary in Africa,” Chylinski said. 

Since she’s been taking the majority of her classes through VLACS, and only around two classes per year at LHS, Chylisnki has found that her hobbies and interests have been optimized. 

“I have had more opportunities to travel,” Chylinski said. “While my peers were still in school, I was traveling across Europe with my family. Working with my in-person teachers to finish classes early that year, and having internet access to do VLACS when I wasn’t sightseeing, allowed me to do what I love.”

Her time to participate in extracurricular activities has also proven easier to manage, and throughout high school, Chylinski has been able to participate in color guard, cross country, track, robotics, and she even held down a part-time job.

“This would have been so much more difficult if I had the strict schedule of public school,” Chylinski said. 

VLACS has offered Chylinski “more opportunities than [she] could have imagined.” Between the gold mine of dual-enrollment classes she had access to, and AP classes she took through both VLACS and LHS, Chylinski, who was accepted into Florida State University, will be beginning her college experience with at least 60 college credits. 

“I’d originally planned to become a full-time LHS student,” Chylisnki said. “But I ended up enjoying VLACS so much that I’m still a full time student there, and will be graduating with them this upcoming June.”

Chylinski has greatly appreciated and enjoyed her experience as a VLACS student, and recommends that this online charter school be something every interested student should look into. 

“Someone can be a part-time or full-time student, taking a class or two, or even all of their classes through VLACS,” Chylinski said. “VLACS has allowed me to diversify my education and become a stronger student over multiple learning platforms. I’m incredibly grateful for having this opportunity to learn and enrich all areas of my life.”

 

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About the Contributor
Catie Brown, Copy Chief
Catie is a senior, and has been part of the Lancer Spirit Staff for three years. Her interests in writing and photography are what drove her to begin. She also plays volleyball, tennis, and rock climbs in her spare time.

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The student news site of Londonderry High School
Senior Katia Chylinski set to graduate with over 60 college credits