Blazing the Trail with the Class of 2019

This post was written by 2018-19 FLVS Full Time National Honor Society President, Julia Dawson.

As a graduate of FLVS Full Time, I’m so thankful for my parent’s willingness to live unconventional lives.

Halfway through my sophomore year, my family made a life-changing decision. We decided to leave our comfortable, subdivision existence behind and set out on an adventure to travel the country in an RV. The prospect both excited and terrified me. On one hand, it meant leaving behind my friends, school, church, and the perfect, tied-with-a-bow plan I had made for my life. On the other hand, it meant embracing the unknown and forging out into a territory few have been courageous enough to explore. I had no idea that it would not only be the single most amazing experience of my life, but that it would also lead me to a school that I am immensely proud to have attended.

Over the next 13 unforgettable months, my family and I traveled to 37 states, 3 Canadian provinces, and 18 national parks. We drove more than 12,600 miles across our beautiful country, and with each mile added to the odometer, I felt myself slowly changing. I was becoming brave and was starting to understand Helen Keller’s words that “life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

With each new experience, I found courage within myself to take just one more step outside of my comfort zone. I hiked atop rock formations called fins with deep drops to either side of me at Arches National Park. I attended youth groups at churches in states where I knew no one. I visited the places that I learned about in U.S. History. I forged new paths. I didn’t always succeed. But that was okay, because I was beginning to learn that bravery doesn’t always look like success. Rather, it is the boldness to get back up and try again. As we continued to travel, I also learned to live in the moment, never knowing where we would be each week. I began to embrace the unknown and anticipate the thrill of discovering new places. I found that the unknown is not something to fear but can be something beautiful and exhilarating.

When I consider my online classmates, I see this same spirit of bravery and a willingness to embrace the uncertainty of an unscripted life. I know it is within each one of us, because FLVS students are innovators. We are trailblazers. We are unconventional. We are willing to step out of the mold of what a traditional high school experience looks like and pave our own way, EVEN if it means the occasional DBA! We have learned that our education does not have to be limited to the four walls of a classroom and we have experienced, first hand, that being different is what makes us extraordinary.

To my fellow graduates, we made it! We survived all the live lessons, collaborations, DBAs, exams, and endless quizzes. Just like me, each one of you have embarked on your own unique journeys these last four years. Through the flexibility that FLVS has offered us, we have pursued our passions and learned how to speak up for what works best for us. Through hard work, grit, perseverance, and friendship we have reached this journey’s destination.

As a class, we’re now on the precipice of our next great adventure. Just like those ancient rock formations that I climbed in Utah, there is potential danger all around us. However, something is different this time. We are ready. No matter what the future holds, the adventurous spirit and bravery to be uniquely ourselves is within us. Whether your next adventure is college, the military, or even the workforce, don’t forget that the unknown holds so much more than fear.

On behalf of the FLVS Class of 2019, I want to thank the extraordinary people who helped us graduate successfully. Thank you to our FLVS teachers, administrators, counselors, and club sponsors for answering every frantic text, working with us to cater to our personal journey, and encouraging us to be our best – while STAYING ON PACE! Thank you to our parents and family members who saw greatness in us (even when we didn’t see it in ourselves) and allowed us to seek an unconventional education.

To quote Benjamin Mee, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it.”

So, to the Class of 2019, here’s to the end of an amazing journey, the beginning of our next one, and all the adventures yet to come!



One comment on “Blazing the Trail with the Class of 2019

  1. Sarah

    Hi Julia! Congratulations! My son is also a 2019 graduate of FLVS fulltime homeschool. We live in the Orlando area, but have done a lot of traveling throughout Central America. He’ll be starting college in August. He’s been in FLVS full time since the middle of 7th grade. It’s been a wonderful experience, but now he is so excited to be going to school again (college) in a real building and not virtually. Good luck to you, and Happy Trails!

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