Collinsville, Oklahoma
June 4, 2016
Trace McWhirt - 2016 Grad
Oklahoma Connections Academy
Graduated 89 Seniors May 21st

Collinsville Resident Diagnosed With Leukemia Before 8th Grade
Trace McWhirt

At the end of seventh grade, Collinsville resident Trace McWhirt was diagnosed with leukemia. As a result, he could no longer maintain a traditional school schedule while undergoing treatment. Trace and his family sought out alternate education options that would allow him the flexibility to pursue his education while also focusing on his health.

After trying a few education options, Trace enrolled as a student at Oklahoma Connections Academy, a tuition-free, online public school, his sophomore year. Since starting at the school, Trace has benefited from the school’s flexibility, and he graduated with his peers on May 21! Trace plans to attend Oklahoma State University this fall.

-- Oklahoma Connections Academy


Early Graduates, Scholarship Winners Among Statewide Online Public School Class of 2016

Bartlesville, Okla. (May 31, 2016) – Oklahoma Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school that serves students statewide in grades K-12, graduated 89 seniors on Saturday, May 21 at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla. Family, friends, teachers and administrators came together to celebrate the students’ successes, with remarks from Vice President of University Affairs at the University of Oklahoma, Jabar Shumate.

Oklahoma Connections Academy’s 2016 graduating seniors include valedictorian Tisha Mitchell, and salutatorian Katelyn Stewart. More than 55 percent of graduates plan to attend two- or four-year colleges at institutions including University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Illinois, and Bacone College, while 10 percent plan to further their education through vocational training.

Megan Ory, a 16-year-old senior, has taken concurrent community college courses at Rose State College while finishing her senior year of high school, and she plans to attend Three Rivers Community College in Connecticut to complete her Associate’s degree before transferring to the University of Connecticut to earn a degree in child psychology. Another standout senior, Karla Rose Ferrero, came to Oklahoma Connections Academy seeking additional math and science courses. She thrived in the online school environment, taking advantage of the robust course catalogue. She will attend Trinity University in San Antonio on an academic scholarship in the fall to pursue a degree in geoscience.

A scholarship in loving memory of Oklahoma Connections Academy teacher Samantha Marsh, who passed away last November, was also presented to Heaven Lee.

“We’re proud of all of the hard work and dedication shown by the graduating class of 2016” said Tammy Shepherd, principal at Oklahoma Connections Academy. “We’re looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for this group of driven students.”

The 2015-16 school year also afforded Oklahoma Connections Academy upperclassmen the opportunity to come together for many social events, including the school’s prom in April, which was attended by students and their guests from across the state, as well as several field trips and an end-of-year party. The commencement ceremony and prom are examples of the many social events that Oklahoma Connections Academy hosts throughout the year for students to interact with their peers. In addition to school-organized events, students have also spearheaded in-person study groups and regional meet-ups for additional peer-to-peer interaction. The school also offers various activities, including clubsfor robotics, gaming and technology, debate and art, among others, and National Honor Society.

Oklahoma Connections Academy serves more than 1,400 students and is completing its fifth year of providing high-quality, personalized online education. The school combines Oklahoma-credentialed teachers with a high-quality curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. College-bound students can tailor their schedules to accommodate exam preparation and applications, as well as take advantage of the school’s diverse course catalogue, including expanded AP classes and Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings.

For more information about Oklahoma Connections Academy and a schedule of upcoming information sessions, please visit

About Oklahoma Connections Academy

Oklahoma Connections Academy is a tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable virtual public school serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade throughout Oklahoma. Oklahoma Connections Academy is authorized by The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board and is accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), an accrediting division of AdvancED. AdvancED is an organization representing 27,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 65 countries worldwide. Oklahoma Connections Academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an innovative curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of state-certified teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit the school’s website,


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