Friendships Formed through FLVS Full Time
This post was written by 2018-19 FLVS Full Time Senior Class President, Carson Brown.
In February of this year, I had the privilege of meeting a friend in person on our schoolwide field trip to SeaWorld. The first interaction I had with my peer was online while participating in 2018 Shark Week – a virtual event hosted by our student council that consisted of five days devoted to networking for FLVS students. I watched the live chat as students showcased their Halloween costumes on “Wacky Wear Wednesday.” One particular comment that caught my eye was an unassuming, clear statement. I’ll never forget the words he wrote.
“This is so cool!” the comment began. “I have found my people.”
Four months later, I met my online friend in person at SeaWorld. He’s a senior who has attended FLVS for all of high school, but never previously came to an in-person event. He and his mom made the two-hour drive to Orlando to come ride rides and meet new people. He told me he was skeptical at first, that he wasn’t sure he would find anyone with the same quirks and personality as him. One hour into the day, I lost him, only to find him a few minutes later smiling and laughing with other students – seniors, juniors, and even freshmen – who he’d never met before, online or in person. He promised me that, the next time an FLVS event was on the calendar, he’d be there.
He had found his people.
My name is Carson Brown, and I’ve had the honor of serving as the senior class president this past school year. After three years in FLVS Full Time, I’ve come to learn some key aspects that forge the community of students, teachers, and parents that we call Florida Virtual School.
In everything FLVS does, there’s a cornerstone of interaction amongst students. New friendships are formed virtually and face to face. Teachers and students alike make it their mission to develop innovative means to harness our evolving digital world for good and to connect new friends even further.
They work assiduously to unleash the potential of our school-wide family and discover new ways to bring peers, parents, and faculty together to share the things that make us great.
The prevailing question I’ve heard in my three years at FLVS from those who are skeptical about its premise is based in how I could possibly make friends. How I could ever discover people like me and share time with them. To this, I smile and respond with my glee at all of the things FLVS has done to foster connections for students.
I believe many of the greatest treasures we will ever know fall into our lives unexpectedly. This stands resoundingly true with regard to FLVS, and it’s my experience with the friendships made here that has affirmed this belief even more. Ariana and Kaley, my fellow senior class officers, both of whom I’d have never met if it hadn’t been for FLVS, have become two of my greatest friends. Likewise, I’ve met countless students from Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, in addition to towns I’ve never heard of from across our state, all of whom I’ve been so privileged to get to spend time with, both virtually and though face-to-face events.
If not for the innovative resources that FLVS staff and students use to build the school community, constantly seeking new ways to do new things, these relationships never would have been created.
Through FLVS, I’ve been gifted the flexibility to pursue my passions and dreams, fashioning an extracurricular schedule that has allowed me to serve my community and do the things I love. Helpful instructors make their presence known, going the extra mile to make sure their students learn.
This community is real.
Florida Virtual School has been a beacon of modernization and an organic, hands-on atmosphere, both in its commitment to innovative learning that constantly pushes the envelope, demanding to know how we can be better, and in its fervor for linking students who have so much more in common than they’ll ever know. Truly, if I could give my 10th-grade self one piece of advice, I would implore him to get involved. Our school community is genuine and real. We have folks, students and faculty, who care, and that is something to be thankful for. I will walk across the graduation stage with the knowledge that I have been unequivocally prepared to take on the world, carrying the tools of tenacity, a diligent work ethic, passion, and friendship along with me.
So long as FLVS continues to follow this, what my amateurly-poetic mind refers to as “the connection direction,” we can achieve so much more. Our pioneering soul as a school is still in its infancy, and there’s no limit or ceiling too high to shatter. We have the keys to incredible things, and I know how hard our Megabyte team works to construct an innovative and kind environment to learn and grow and to meet new people.
Through unmatched exposure to such a unique experience, one that I will value wholeheartedly and will use to inform the rest of my life, I can say, without reservation, that I’ve found my people. To future FLVS students, I know you will here, too.