What will a Fortis graduate look like? I struggled, not because I couldn’t describe the graduation plan – that was easy – but because educating an upper level student is about so much more than just academics. I homeschooled three boys in an isolated rural area, and I fully understand the multitude of challenges involved in providing teens with a stimulating environment filled with opportunities, events, and chances to explore: it’s a daunting task. But I also know that the middle and high school years with our sons were absolutely some of the most exciting and fulfilling times our family experienced together. Steve and I had front row seats watching our sons mature and step out confidently into their areas of interest. We saw them take leadership roles; we saw them take risks. We saw them thrive; we saw them falter. Ultimately, when they walked out our door headed for their future, we watched them go with peace in our hearts thankful for the wonderful extended time we had together as a family and feeling confident in the abilities of the young men we had raised. We watched closely from those front row seats and we knew they were ready for whatever came their way.

I repeat: it wasn’t easy. We had a forensic competitor, a musician, and an athlete; we were all over the map – literally! But from competition to camaraderie, Book Club to Homecoming and Prom, the opportunities were there for them just as if they’d been in a formal school setting. Sure, it was a little harder – we drove a little farther and as parents, we had to be more involved in making things happen, but after all, wasn’t that why we’d chosen to school the way we did?

So what will a Fortis graduate look like? Like any other high school graduate – plus. Like a young adult possessing a solid well rounded academic education plus a highly developed analytical ability coupled with strong communication skills (sought after attributes whether applying for college or entering the workforce.) Like someone prepared for any challenge who feels secure in their understanding of the world even though they know the world can and will change. A Fortis graduate will not be afraid to stand on the rock and speak the name of Jesus because they will have worked through what it means to live as a Christian and their faith will be their own. But can all of this be accomplished in what seems to be a small isolated environment? Absolutely! Fortis Academy need be no more confining for your children than homeschooling was for mine – not if we work together.

Soon a list of resources will be posted on the website providing a place to learn about opportunities for your teen. Swim team, square dancing, orchestra: let us know what you learn about and we’ll grow the list together.

Academic opportunities also abound. Science Olympiad. Mathcounts. Robotics. National Honor Society. All these are available to our students and more. Who’s interested?

And since our teens are growing toward the responsibilities of adulthood, shouldn’t they have some say in these final school years? Student council provides the opportunity to self-govern; perhaps a school newsletter to grow community and a yearbook to capture memories. What about a senior trip after Thesis defense to celebrate the successful completion of school. The possibilities are endless – all it takes is someone to say, “I have an idea!” and someone else to say, “I’ll help you!” Let’s continue to model for our upper level students what it means to take a blank slate and make things happen.

So ultimately, what does a Fortis graduate look like? Like someone raised in a loving community where their intellect is challenged and their interests are celebrated. Like the successful culmination of all those reasons you put your child into the school in the first place. Like someone ready for their future; like a place of peaceful confidence; but most importantly, like a job well done.

 

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