More than 100 students representing 19 countries will graduate from the University of Nebraska High School, the university’s fully online, accredited high school, on Friday. The graduating class of 110 includes 17 Nebraska students, 48 international students and four National Merit Scholarship finalists.
The graduation ceremony is at 2 p.m. Friday at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. It will be live-streamed here. Thirteen of the graduates, including students from as far away as Lome, Togo, and Cairo, Egypt, are expected to attend.
“We are proud to celebrate our graduates from around the world. Each year, we look forward to this ceremony,” said Barbara Wolf Shousha, director of the University of Nebraska High School. “We’re not only celebrating the outstanding accomplishment of completing high school, but the growth of each student academically and personally. Our students all have different experiences and different reasons for studying with us. We are so pleased to offer them the opportunity to earn a respected diploma from an accredited school.”
The University of Nebraska High School, established in 1929, offers more than 100 online core, elective and Advanced Placement courses to students in Nebraska and around the world. It was one of the first accredited online high schools to offer a full diploma sequence online. UNHS students may complete their entire high school education online or take select courses for transfer. Graduates have gone on to universities such as the University of Nebraska, West Point, Columbia and Stanford.
The high school currently serves about 2,500 students, of whom about 250 are Nebraskans. It is a self-supporting operation. Growing resident enrollment is a key goal for the high school as the university works to contribute to higher graduation and college-going rates in the state. The high school offers courses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and provides teachers, an academic adviser and administration assistance for students and schools.
The University of Nebraska High School draws students from diverse backgrounds. Some previously were home schooled and find that online education meets their needs. Some have medical circumstances that make a traditional high school schedule too demanding. Others take courses through the high school that are not available at their regular school, including Advanced Placement and elective courses.
One of this year’s graduates, Brooke Nykamp of Papillion, transferred to the University of Nebraska High School after missing a significant number of classes due to illness. She said the flexibility of the university’s high school helped her catch up, and encouraged other students to take advantage of the independence that online courses offer.
“The University of Nebraska High School taught me responsibility and accountability because I was the person in charge of my schedule,” Nykamp said. “It also helped show me that I alone am in control of how successful I can be.”
Another 2015 graduate is Connor Mullin of Lincoln, who will become Chancellor’s Scholar at UNL this fall. Mullin plans to major in history and hopes to someday work in local government.
“Apart from what I’ve learned through my courses, I’ve also gained what I like to think is a good time management ability,” Mullin said. “I’ve particularly enjoyed the flexibility in scheduling that the UNHS program has given