Brooke Lober left public high school after the tenth grade and spent a year enrolled at Beach High School. During this year she took classes at UCSC and at Cabrillo College, arranged for private tutorials with former teachers and others in the community, and did volunteer work. All of these endeavors went on a Beach High School transcript that accompanied Brooke’s application to Sarah Lawrence College, where she was accepted.
A student I’ll call Jonathan felt that high school would not effectively accommodate his severe dyslexia, so he and his mother put together a program that included work in basic academics with an educational therapist; tutorials in music, martial arts, and physics; a work-study project at a framing studio; and independent physical education activities. All of this work is documented on a BHS transcript. As I write this, Jonathan is finishing his second year in this program.
After leaving his traditional high school, Greg Harrod went to work full-time for his father, a contractor. He learned finish work and framing, and to demonstrate his accomplishments he showed me a complete house he had framed in miniature; it is a work of art. Greg also enrolled at Hartnell College in Salinas, where he did some basic academics and then began a program in drafting and construction.
While you’re enrolled in Beach High School, you can put together a program using the whole world as a resource, and you can work toward any goals you choose. In addition to all the things mentioned above, you can enroll in correspondence courses, travel, work, set up independent projects, and engage in any other ventures that seem productive.
WHAT GRADUATES DO
Chantalle van der Zande went directly from the eighth grade to Cabrillo College. After struggling through a 16-unit Spanish class, she settled into a comfortable and productive academic routine. She discovered a deep interest in psychology, transferred to UCSC, and graduated with many academic awards and a degree in psychology. She will earn graduate degrees and plans to work in education.
Theo Paige earned a diploma from Beach High School immediately after failing the California High School Proficiency Examination; Theo is a musician and the exam had nothing to do with his real talents. He completed two successful years at Cabrillo College, produced a CD, visited several countries in Europe in pursuit of musical knowledge, and returned to this country to continue his musical education with mentors.
Jerimi Walker left high school after a few months because the school would not let her study mathematics at the level she was capable of. She enrolled at BHS, and we worked together via e-mail and over the phone. Jerimi earned her diploma, entered Troy State University in Dothan, Alabama, earned a 4.0 during her first term, and was placed on the President’s Honor List. In May of 2000 she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in math; she was accepted for graduate study at Syracuse and was awarded a fellowship that pays full tuition.
Beach High School graduates who want an academic education enter college after having skipped much or all of high school. They show no signs of gaps in what they know or can do. They routinely gain admission to colleges and universities, earn bachelor’s degrees, and, when they choose to do so, enter graduate and professional schools.
Graduates have also been very successful in endeavors outside of academia. Two are professional athletes. Several students have gone to the far corners of Earth to learn about other cultures. Others have settled into jobs and have plans for more formal education later. A few people have gone to private trade schools.