Hailey Milliken, a 12th grader from Jefferson, was Valedictorian for last week’s graduation ceremony for Maine Connections Academy, the state’s online charter school.
The in-person ceremony took place on June 3, at Thompson’s Point, in Portland. Milliken will be attending Boston University in the fall, majoring in media science in the College of Communication. Originally from Maine, Milliken lived in many places and attended many schools before joining Maine Connections Academy in 2020.
In her speech to her fellow classmates, Milliken said “Just a few months ago, the idea of speaking in front of a crowd, live, like this, seemed impossible. But here we are. The opportunities and flexibility offered here, at a true online school, have allowed me to thrive. What we are seeing all around is that the current educational system is in desperate need of a renovation. And MCA is one step ahead. And being one step ahead takes you to great places, so: stay one step ahead!”
Milliken took AP courses in literature, calculus and microeconomics—in her own words, “I’m a big reader, I do a lot of writing as well, and I’m really into journalism.” In her opinion, “Online school is the future of education. We were all thrown into it because of COVID but now we see that it can work. More and more students are learning at their own pace, and it’s perfect for diverse learners. Maine Connections Academy really knows how to do it.”
Now in its seventh year, Maine Connections Academy is Maine’s first statewide, tuition-free, online public school for students in grades 7-12.