The only qualm Madison Gates has about her first day at Riverview High School, even though she hasn’t attended class on a school campus since the sixth grade, is whether her father will show up wearing a T-shirt that reads, “I’m Madison Gates’ Dad.”
“Mom just sent me Blackberry Messenger to find out how she can help with orientation,” Gates says. “She says if I’m not cool with it, then dad’s going to go instead and wear that shirt — of course he’s probably at home now making it!”
When Gates began sailing competitively with the Sarasota Youth Sailing Program 2004, she found that her involvement with the team required frequent travel nationally and internationally. At the time, Florida Virtual School sounded like the perfect option. But now that she’s entering high school, she doesn’t want to miss out on the experience.
“In virtual school, I would take my computer on the airplane and do homework and tests on it or on my phone,” Gates says. “For my oral classes, I would spend two hours talking with my teacher about the chapter we had just finished.”
She doesn’t anticipate high school being more difficult, even with her participation in Riverview’s International Baccalaureate program.
“IB is about making new friends, traveling and learning about different cultures,” Gates says. “I’m thrilled because I get along with most people. I can walk into a room not knowing anyone and 20 minutes later I can walk out know everyone’s story.”
But one main concern she has is missing classes for sailing, which will only become more intense as she gets older.
“I grew tired of the online school because I was stuck at home all day,” Gates says. “I know if I don’t go to high school I will miss out on the experience. I just hope the school will permit me to keep sailing.”
The second concern — not having a school supply list.
“Did you know you don’t get a school supply list for high school?” Gates said. “Even in virtual school I got a list. My little sister in first grade has a list. I don’t know if I need crayons or markers!
FAVORITE SCHOOL MEMORY
"We were all sitting in the lunchroom and the lunch ladies were talking to each other. Apparently, something had happened, so one woman started whacking the other woman with a pool noodle and the other one did the same, and they had a full-out fight in the lunch room."