From Volcano to Virtual; Students Embrace an Academic New Norm

From Volcano to Virtual; Students Embrace an Academic New Norm

Press Release ( - PORTLAND, Ore. - Apr 25, 2020 - Wy’East Mountain Academy is one of the world’s only snowboard, ski, and skateboard high schools and is known for producing its fair share of Olympic medalists. Each April, students and families gather for Wy’East’s annual graduation ceremonies at the historic Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, which is a designated “potentially active” volcano by the U.S. Geological Survey and happens to be the second most climbed mountain in the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, students, staff, and families have instead gathered around their computers today to participate in one of the nation’s first online high school graduation ceremonies.

With the school year cut short, students quickly adapted from skateparks and ski slopes to wrapping up the year studying and training at home through personalized online coaching and athletics. Students connected with their academic advisors, coaches, and peers daily via the video conferencing app, Zoom, where they shared videos of their at-home or local gym workouts, new skateboard and trampoline tricks, and presented projects for new skateboard and terrain park designs.

Under normal circumstances, the school’s summer term would begin on May 11 with students earning extra credits while skiing and snowboarding through the summer months on Mt. Hood’s year-round natural snow pack. In this new era, students will be returning to a program Wy’East calls their “Mobile Semester,” which expands on the virtual experience the school moved to this spring.

“It’s all about making lemonade out of lemons,” commented Kevin English, the academy’s president. “Fortunately, our school has been dedicated to the online education model for over a decade so adapting to the current global environment was easy. The current situation not only forced us to accelerate our academic and athletic performance, but to also prioritize our students to continue to feel connected to each other, the school, the culture, and the sports they love so much.”

The virtual graduation went off without a hitch featuring all the traditional pomp and circumstance to be expected: faculty welcomes, accomplished alumni keynotes (Olympic bronze medalist Alex Beaulieu-Marchand), contemplative student speeches, a turning of the tassels and a toss of the mortarboards all within the confines of home.

About Wy’East Mountain Academy

Founded in 2009, Wy’East Mountain Academy is an action sports-focused academic boarding school that has produced countless noteworthy and successful alumni including Olympic and X-Games medalists. Designed and directed in partnership with its staff of globally renowned coaches and academic professionals, Wy’East Mountain Academy is for students grades 7-12 who have a passion for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and skateboarding, and for those who simply aspire to experience the great outdoors.

To learn more about Wy’East Mountain Academy, visit

Press Contact

Wy’East Mountain Academy
Dan Tattersfield, Director of Admissions
(503) 622-8931

Source : Wy'East Mountain Academy

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