PORT ORCHARD — A couple dozen graduating high school seniors — as they have for much of their time as students — did it their way by celebrating the successful completion of their K-12 education with a graduation ceremony at South Kitsap High School on June 10.
A prideful collection of parents, families, friends and teachers in the audience and on stage gave the graduating seniors of Explorer Academy an ovation as they crossed the stage to accept their diplomas from principal Pat Oster and South Kitsap School District Superintendent Karst Brandsma.
Graduating senior Miranda Keating and teacher Shari Carragher were recognized as winning this year’s Superintendent Scholar Award. Senior Dakota Cornish and retired SKSD teacher Kim Marchel also were cited as finalists for the award.
Explorer Academy, which is tucked away on the other side of the parking lot behind South Kitsap High School, is one of two alternative educational options for students who live within the South Kitsap School District boundaries.
Oster is principal of the South Kitsap Alternative Programs department, where he administers both Explorer Academy and Discovery High School programs (seniors attending Discovery graduated June 3 at Chapel Hill Church).
Explorer Academy is a kindergarten through 12th-grade parent-partner program in which students receive a hybrid of online and on-campus instruction with the support of local certificated instructors. According to the school district, students who are part of the Explorer program receive most of their instruction at home from a parent-partner using materials provided by South Kitsap.
Explorer families also receive face-to-face guidance and support from a consulting teacher at the school.
On the Explorer Academy’s website, Oster said that the South Kitsap online academy’s mission is to “ensure student achievement by partnering with families, providing quality curriculum, support and accountability.”