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Virtual School Graduation Features Riverbank Student
Virtual class
California Connections Academy at Ripon held a graduation ceremony for over 60 high school seniors at San Joaquin Delta College on Friday, June 24 which included local Riverbank resident Samantha Wendell. Photo Contributed

California Connections Academy at Ripon, a tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K-12, graduated 65 high school seniors at a commencement ceremony held at the San Joaquin Delta Community College on Friday, June 24. Local Riverbank resident Samantha Wendell was among the graduates. Alongside family, friends, teachers and administrators, students passed their tassels and commemorated their educational accomplishments, with remarks from California Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen.

The virtual school serves students in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties. The Academy, which opened its doors in 2012, provides an innovative and flexible learning environment for more than 962 students in grades K-12. The school combines state-credentialed teachers with an award-winning curriculum that meets stringent state education standards.

Students from the 2016 graduating class will go on to pursue higher education at universities including California Institute of the Arts; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Oregon; University of Arizona; United States Merchant Marine Academy; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; among others.

“We are proud of our graduating class for the accomplishments they have already achieved and look forward to see where their hard work will take them after graduation,” said Amy Hunt, site administrator at California Connections Academy at Ripon. “This is a unique class of earnest, inventive students that will certainly take the skills learned at California Connections Academy beyond the high school classroom to thrive in their future endeavors – from higher education to the 21st century workforce.”

Throughout the school year, students have many opportunities to interact with their fellow classmates in person and plan for higher education. Recently, California Connections Academy organized field trips to various academic institutions, including Stanford University, California State University, Sacramento and University of the Pacific. In addition to higher education exploration, students also take advantage of several other school-sponsored events and field trips. California Connections Academy students may also join clubs and activities that align with their interests, including broadcast and theater club, first-generation student club, science in the kitchen club and National Honor Society, among others.

Juniors and seniors planning to attend college 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 offerings. Unique electives include engineering design, sports management and criminal investigation.

To learn more about California Connections Academy and begin enrollment for the 2016-17 school year, visit

California Connections Academy is fully accredited (grades K-12) by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The school opened in 2012 and is authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District. California Connections Academy provides students who meet state residency requirements with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an internet connection with an innovative curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of state-credentialed 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.