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Finding academic success outside the classroom

Learning is something everyone does differently. Some learn best in a classroom, while others are distracted by their surroundings.

Now there is a way for students who don’t enjoy the traditional school-based experience to continue their education in Idaho.

The Idaho Technical Career Academy offers students in grades 9-12 a full-time, tuition-free learning experience. An opportunity that 17-year-old Jordin Oborn said made a major change in her life.

“Being so stressed out, you just don’t do things that you wouldn’t normally do. So I just got into like a darker place, just ’cause I wasn’t me,” Oborn said. “But, with doing online school and going through Idaho Career Technical Academy, I’ve just been able to be me again.”

Oborn started high school at Highland in Pocatello but said things didn’t feel right.

“I was stressed out, there was too many people,” she said. “It was just kinda crazy.”

She said it got to the point where she would beg her mom to let her stay home and skip class. During this time, her mom began looking at other options, such as homeschooling.

But both Jordin and her mom agreed that wasn’t the right idea for her.

Knowing that she wanted to pursue a health occupation career, they found the ITCA and enrolled Jordin.

“They send you everything,” Oborn said. “You don’t have to buy a computer, you don’t have to buy a printer, they send you everything you need.”

Included in that is the textbooks and money to help pay internet fees.

The “career-focused virtual school” is the only of its kind in the state, according to the website.

Jordin said an average day starts with her mom waking her up to check what assignments she has that day.

“Everday, I have an hour or two hours of a class connect with my teacher, which is live and I have to go to that. And it’s just like normal school, if I don’t go I can get an absence and get in trouble,” she added.

Oborn said one of her favorite things about the program is that it really feels like it’s one on one learning with five teachers, meeting with each on a separate day of the week.

Pursuing a career in pharmacy tech, Oborn is on a path to take the state-certified pharmacy tech exam when she graduates.

In the meantime, she’s working at the Cottonwood Cove retirement home, allowing her to see what kinds of things she’ll be dealing with.

“I think it’s really important,” she said, “because in the class a lot you just hear stories.”

Jordin says should she pass the exam, she plans to work at a local pharmacy while she finishes pharmacy school.

Now, just two semesters away from completion, Oborn feels others should know they have options.

“I think that a lot of people struggle,” she said. “People get bullied and people get stressed out and people really get themselves sick and really depressed because they’re just struggling … but I think it would help a lot more people than people realize.”

But without the school environment, who does Jordin interact with? According to her, she still sees her friends on a regular basis and will even drive over to Highland to pick them up for lunch from time to time.


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