January 2021 Graduates of Pacific Sands Academy

Congratulations! Recent graduates of our high school program:

graduate 1

Samuel Gomez

Sam came to the Pacific Sands program of West River Academy two and a half years ago for his sophomore year, but chose to go back to his local high school for his junior year because he missed having a social life. We were excited to have him join us for his graduation semester! During his time in our program, Sam studied interesting topics such as Kinesiology, self marketing, psychology, zoology, and videography. Sam is extremely physically capable and competed at national and world levels in Tae Kwon Do. This passion transferred into a new sport called “tricking,” which is where athletes do crazy maneuvers you see in video games. You can see Sam doing some of his tricks here. He hopes to attend his local community college and someday study sports medicine and videography at a university.

graduate 2

Andrew Snyder

Andrew came to Pacific Sands Academy two years ago, after his cousin had graduated from our program. He lives in Long Beach, California and is interested in martial arts and video games. While in our program, he studied US history, integrated science, logic and strategy and gaming psychology. At one point during his career in our program, he played Fortnight competitively, and semi-professionally, and got to Tier Two (top 40 on the west coast, top 500 in the world) He even made a bit of money! He has moved away from Fortnight, and into counter Strike and Rust. As a kid and middle schooler, Andrew practiced martial arts, but now this love has translated to being a big fan of the UFC. Moving forward, Andrew will look at community colleges, and find something he enjoys for work—maybe something do with video games or behind the scenes sports. You can learn more about him here.

graduate 3

Lily Sultana

Lily joined our program this year in lieu of doing distance learning at her local high school. She is an interesting and very insightful person, thinking often about deeper issues such as social justice and human and environmental rights. Lily loves to surf and skate, and finds a sense of bliss and peace out on the water—in the waves- this is her biggest passion. She is an excellent writer—one of the most prolific and best I’ve come across, and wrote in detail about her studies this year— studies such as the impacts of corporations on our government and economy, Native American history, and current events. She also creates a lot of art; her favorite medium is watercolor. Lily will continue following current events, doing art, and especially surfing and skating before starting community college next fall, and pursuing a career in journalism. You can learn more about her here.

graduate 4

Connor Merkins

Connor joined Pacific Sands Academy last school year. He came from a charter school in Sonoma, California. Connor has enjoyed his studies in our program—studying Swedish, photography, beginning entrepreneurship, and music production. He likes to spend free time watching movies, playing video games (like Minecraft and Among Us), socializing, skateboarding, and playing basketball. This year Connor’s focus has been writing and creating music. He is inspired by Juice WRLD, Powfu, and Call me Karizma. Connor will take a year off before attending his local community college and work full time to save some money, so he can work on fixing his car. He also wants to continue creating music, and start publishing it on YouTube and maybe Spotify. Look for Connor Joshua in the near future! You can learn more about Connor here.

graduate 5

Matthew Smith

Matt joined our program at the beginning of this school year after an eclectic high school education. Matt is passionate about listening to and writing music. This past semester Matt spent most of his time listening to, appreciating, and writing music. He also studied the psychology of horror in video games, legal issues involved with copyright law, and a history of post-rock. He is an excellent writer, in fact, one of the best writers I have come across in my program.
Artists who have influenced him are Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Joy Division, Glenn Branca, Swans, and Velvet Underground. Matt hopes to continue his music passion, recording his own music and try to gain a following without having to depend upon a large industry label. Look for This Rainy Decade- Matt’s chosen name for his band, named after the song by The Cleaners from Venus.

(Matthew Smith’s name was changed to protect the innocent—photo is of Nick Cave, not Matthew.)

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. Please visit Pacific Sands Academy for more information.

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