Fourteen eighth-graders strolled across a stage Tuesday to receive very real certificates for graduating from their virtual school. The students celebrated each other — and their parents and teachers — in Tuesday’s ceremony for the Friendship Public Charter School Online. The virtual school conducted the graduation event at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) in Southeast Washington.

School head John “Tracy” Sloane said there are a number of reasons why students and their families would choose an online school, such as health factors, bullying, differing learning styles and abilities.

“We are able to meet the student exactly where they are in their learning,” said Suzanne Conway, a Friendship elementary teacher. “They don’t have to stay with the bulk of the class, every student is learning on their own level.”

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