Sammamish senior graduates without setting foot in classroom

Sammamish senior Jaimey Hayes graduated from high school June 21 without setting foot in a traditional classroom in more than a year.

Sammamish senior Jaimey Hayes graduated from high school June 21 without setting foot in a traditional classroom in more than a year.

Hayes attended Insight School of Washington (ISWA), a full-time, fully accredited online high school. She decided to enroll after feeling frustrated and disinterested at her brick-and-mortar school.

“I went to Eastlake High School and then for my senior year I switched,” Hayes said. “Elementary school and junior high weren’t the easiest for me.”

Hayes is dyslexic and said she found her classes exhausting, which left her with little energy for other activities that interested her.

“I like to move around and being in a classroom every day is kind of boring, so I wanted to change it up,” she said.

Hayes said ISWA is a good school if you are self-motivated and enjoy activities outside of the traditional classroom. For Hayes, that’s skiing.

“You definitely have to be your own push,” she said. “You can’t go into it thinking it’s going to be a piece of cake.”

Hayes said the workload at ISWA was easier for her because she could review the information she’d been given, take a test and then be done with that unit. Her class days were devoted to specific topics: Monday was English, Tuesday was history, Wednesday was math and both Thursdays and Fridays were catch up days. She did some work in the morning and some in the evening so it wasn’t all done in one sitting. Hayes said her goal each week would be to finish her work by Wednesday, so she didn’t have to study Thursday or Friday and could go to the mountain.

“I was my own self-motivator,” Hayes said.

But going to school online means zero face-to-face interaction with teachers, advisors and classmates. Hayes was on the ISWA prom committee, but all of the coordination was done online.

“Even though it’s online, it’s still really interactive,” Hayes said.

Hayes finally was able to put faces to names as she met teachers and peers at her ISWA graduation ceremony. She noted it was a little awkward at first, but then she started talking to the girl beside her and ended up having a great time. And high school graduation means a lot to Hayes.

“It’s a big deal for me because I had a lot of roadblocks due to my dyslexia,” she said.

And if she could go back in time and do it all over, she would.

“I’m really happy with my decision,” she said.

As far as the future, Hayes will be spending the summer interning at an event planning company in Missoula, Mo. She hopes of attend the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles after taking a year off from school.

For more information about ISWA, visit