Benjamin is one of the few students I’ve had the joy of working with for all 4 years. He has been the truest of autodidacts- a self directed learner throughout his high school career. At 15, he immediately started earning his pilot’s license and studied aeronautics, the math and science of flight, and the airline industry. As Covid hit, he paid close attention, and by April of 2020, he led me to a scientific study that showed it was a likely a lab leak, by looking at the nucleic acid sequence of the virus. In addition to following the science, he studied the media, politicians’, and society’s reactions to the pandemic. This led him into a deeper dive of the human body and lower levels of testosterone found in modern men- and Benjamin decided that he would build his own testosterone levels. So he took up body-building and nutrition. Some other areas of interest: Tuvan throat singing, intactivism, feminism and modernism, orthotropics, psychology and biological determinism. In the past year and a half or so, he started classes at Tri County Community college, and has done excellently! Benjamin plans to continue bodybuilding and take more classes at Tri County Community College so he can transfer to Clemson University in 2024. Take a look at his portfolio where he wrote quite elegantly about many of his learning experiences at Pacific Sands Academy.
Jax joined Pacific Sands Academy last year, and is graduating early as a junior. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and likes his hat in this photo. In early 2021, he started playing with a band called Raue, and is now the drummer of this two person group. While at Pacific Sands, Jax studied social media marketing, song writing, music production, and the ins and outs of growing a brand with a burgeoning organization. Jax is an avid learner of life- zooming in and out of rabbit holes,as he explores the geopolitical world we live in. He has been an absolute delight to meet with, I always have a good laugh with Jax. He is going to continue growing a following with Raue, and possibly start his own merch line, designing and producing T-shirts and other things that make people laugh and feel human. Jax’s website.
Levi has been a super delightful kid to work with the past couple of years! He is always prepared and on time, and both Katina and I have always thoroughly enjoyed our weekly meetings. Levis is a very dedicated and hard working student. He has used the ”Build Your Library” curriculum for the past 3 years and read over 200 books- both non-fiction and fiction- throughout his high school career- truly one of the most well-read students I have ever come across! It was always fun and interesting discussing his current books each week, and themes and ideas that went with each book. We had the peculiar problem with Levi of having to trim down his units, as he almost earned too many units to graduate in 3 years. Besides reading, Levi enjoys video games, archery and frisbee golfing. He is graduating early from high school at age 16, and is considering studying anthropology or psychology in college. Plans are still amorphous- but a university abroad, or local community college, or work, or a mixture of these things. You can learn about him here.
I have had the great pleasure of knowing Cooper for over 10 years, as he and my daughter were best friends and soulmates as children. Cooper’s passions have ranged from rainbow looming, Disney, climbing trees, and beach play as a younger child to musical theater, modeling, and skin care. As a kid he was truly unschooled, but decided to attend one of the hardest middle and high schools in the state as a 7th grader. He flourished there, getting straight A’s, acting in the musical theater conservatory, and winning awards. Towards the end of Covid however, he decided to work and finish off at the Pacific Sands Program of West River Academy where he was able to pursue his interests, and find time for himself again. He plans to attend esthetician School in the fall, and eventually move out with some friends. You can learn more about him here.
Veronica spent much of her high school career in an alternative school in Sonoma. CA. But she found Pacific Sands Academy to complete her high school and graduate. With a large extended family, she loves cooking and babies. Babies and toddlers gravitate towards her. She has learned many recipes from her mother, and enjoys preparing delicious sounding foods like tinga, chilaquiles and pozole. Veronica plans on entering an ultrasound program and getting her ultrasound medical license. She is excited to connect with women during this precious part of their lives. I absolutely love that she will be pursuing this career and am sure she will find much success! You can learn more about her on her website.
Cheyenne came to Pacific Sands Academy after her brother graduated in 2020. While enrolled, she worked hard to complete her units to graduate, and studied such subjects as Astronomy, Government, Economics, and English. Her main focus, however, has been on her horses. She is a horse girl through and through, and owns two horses. She spent many years Barrel Racing in Rodeos, winning buckles, and has more recently been working on team roping. She teaches horse lessons, and boards and trains horses. She is currently growing her business. Cheyenne is always positive and strong and fun and easy to talk to. She has a nice sense of humor and great personality. I am so proud of the work Cheyenne has done this year and know she will be successful in all she does. You can learn more about her here.
Kerissa joined the Pacific Sands Program of West River Academy, and did excellent work completing her graduation requirements- She studied World History and Economics, and created an awesome slideshow for her graduation portfolio. Throughout her high school career, she excelled at special effects make-up, cosmetology, art, and gaming strategy. Her special effects make up was so realistic that Google shut down her exit portfolio for violating terms of service! Kerissa has a great sense of humor and soft spot for underdogs and animals of all shapes and sizes. She is loyal and fiercely protective of her friends and family. She is unsure of her next steps but hopes to travel (Iceland- first stop!), and pursue something artistic in her future. Here is her portfolio.
Olivia came to the Pacific Sands Program of West River Academy and flourished. She was enthusiastic, positive and fun to work with. She worked at In-N-Out: hiked, biked, snow boarded, hung out with friends, explored the desert and beaches. Olivia is creative and driven and loves adventure. She also loves her family and friends fiercely! She is ready to fly the nest, and plans to move to Santa Barbara. She already has a job at In-N- Out, and a place to live there. Olivia will be going to Santa Barbara Community College and earn her AA along with a Cosmetology license. She may also get involved in the fashion industry somehow! You can learn more about her on her website here.
Keanna joined us this year and has been quite fun to work with. She has a laid back soulful vibe and loves writing, art and poetry and music. When it comes to these things, she loves to experience the full range of genres- very adventurous in this way! When she tackles something she likes, she is really passionate. She is not a kid who is going to fit in a box and follow a bunch of rules just to get good grades, so she has sought her own path through school. She questions everything and thinks for herself. Keanna has a great sense of compassion and justice and will go to bat for the downtrodden, sometimes even at the expense of going to bat for herself. She is a loyal friend and makes deep connections. Relationships are very important. Keanna says she’s “winging it” but she seeks deep contentment which I very much admire. I believe in her and think she is going to do great! You can learn more about Keanna here.
Anna joined Pacific Sands as a senior this year. She is a shining example of what it means to be a hard worker, always striving to do her best in everything she sets her mind to. Her kindness and positive attitude have undoubtedly made a lasting impact on those around her. Anna has enjoyed participating in choir and musical theatre throughout her school career.
Anna has overcome a learning disability and has been a very successful student in high school. She is looking forward to moving on to college and figure out what comes next.
Her talents and positive attitude will take her far, and we are all excited to see what she will accomplish in the years to come.
Bright homeschooled most of his childhood. He has loved spending time in the great outdoors- rock climbing and hiking. He plans to go to community college and study psychology. He is a kind, funny, intelligent young man who has overcome many obstacles to get to this special moment in his life. He tried every type of schooling possible and settled on homeschooling where he ultimately thrived. He worked hard to graduate early and move on to the next chapter of his life. He has dreams of becoming a psychologist and helping kids who are experiencing neglect and abuse. He has a soft space in his heart for foster and adopted kids. Bright is a wonderful little brother, big brother, and son!
His family is super proud of him and loves him so much!
Troy joined Pacific Sands Academy and got straight into graduation. His background in construction, maintenance, and hard work is very impressive. He loves taking things apart and rebuilding them- and has done that to so many things in his home, since he was a young boy- bicycles, wagons, garage door openers, and now working on a non operating truck. Troy plans to do that to the quad in this picture, as well. Troy has a great work ethic and works 8 hours per day in underground construction: digging trenches, fitting pipes, setting wires, connecting utilities. Troy is entrepreneurial, and plans to start his own business in this field. Troy also loves the outdoors- and driving anything with a motor and tires. He also has a huge heart and has always been super helpful with his younger sister with special needs. I am very confident that Troy has a productive future in front of him.
Years ago, I met Jett as a 4th grader who came to a different program I taught as a kind of a school refugee. He had a nice long joyful childhood, full of imagination and play. When he graduated from 8th grade, Jett stayed with me, joining Pacific Sands Academy until he transferred to a hybrid college high school program in Mountain View. He was an integral part of Pacific Sands Academy, so I really wanted to celebrate him as well. He has a wonderful sense of adventure and self directed learning, spent tons of time studying and living history through reenacting the Civil War. He loved Biology as well, and got deep into music, writing and playing songs. He is a delightful presenter! His personality shines through whenever he gives a presentation! Jett is going to go places. He has kept his love of learning alive, and I think will have a wonderful adventure wherever he chooses to go to college.
Alex used our program in a way that I always hope more kids do. He’s actually graduating from another high school: LA County High School for the Arts, and doing most of his coursework there, but he has come to Pacific Sands Program of WRA from time to time throughout his high school career, to earn credits that he needed for his public school transcript. He’s bright and fun to talk to and positive. He’s very into theater, mostly working behind the scenes, and has been extremely busy with it. He’s a very hard worker and will do well in the future!
Sarah has been a wonderful student to work with. She is athletic and smart and curious about the world. She went to Foothill College concurrently with her West River education and took lots of PE and art classes as well as a smattering of history and human geography courses. She loved studying Art and Photography at the college, and enjoyed her English classes through “Literature at Our House,” a homeschool English program. Sarah has been playing lacrosse competitively for the past 4 years, and has gotten better and better, and is currently playing at the varsity / lower elite level, and plans to play on a college team. She will finish one more year at Foothill College, and transfer to a 4 year college (not in California). In addition, Sarah loves snow sports, camping and hiking, and hopes to do lots of travel and adventuring as a young adult. To learn more about Sarah, visit her portfolio here. (Class of 2022)
Soleil doesn’t actually have blue hair, but has a great sense of humor and this is the picture she gave me. She’s very fun to talk with and can laugh at herself readily- which I l believe is a super important quality. As an enrolled Pacific Sands student, she was able to continue to surf on the Newport Harbor Surf team. In our program, she studied US History through fashion, Personal Finance, Government and Economics, as well as pursued numerous hobbies like pottery, crochet, and cooking. Soleil has an exciting Spring ahead of her as she plans to travel to India to study Ayurvedic practices and become a yoga teacher, and will be earning these certifications. She also plans a trip to Portugal to participate in a retreat where she will learn how to strengthen her intuition. Soleil has plans to travel and adventure through life. She will get her EMT, and pursue certifications in numerous fields as she creates her career path going forward. To learn more about Soleil you can visit her graduation portfolio here.
Kayla joined the Pacific Sands Program of West River Academy in her junior year. She writes very well and takes wonderful notes of the subjects she learns about. She really enjoyed literature, reading tons of Colleen Hoover, and enjoyed her survey of American greats like Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice. She also enjoyed studying US History through fashion. Kayla loves music and fashion and has a life goal of being a celebrity stylist for a musician. No wonder she likes Harry Styles so much! Kayla is also an avid equestrian and owns two horses -Martini and Marvelous; she used to compete in Western Show, but now rides them for fun and loves on them. Kayla plans on attending her local community College- Tarrant County college, and then transfer to Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
To learn more about Kayla, you can take a look at her website here.
(Class of 2022)
Pacific Sands Academy students enjoy their childhoods and teenage-hoods again, and find they have time to pursue their real interests and passions. Families find peace, freedom, and better relationships with their teens. Please visit Pacific Sands Academy for more information.