Utah high school students attend ‘virtual prom’

Posted at 9:59 PM, Apr 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-13 00:35:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Students held their prom at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, but some had never seen each other in person before.

The 150 students aren't all from one school. In fact, they come from across the state of Utah. That's because they're online students. They attend the Open High School of Utah, Online Virtual Academy or Utah Connections Academy.

The students say they don't know many of the other students by face or by name because they communicate online.

"I don't really know them," said Lexie Wilkes. "We talk sometimes on webmail but that's pretty much it."

But that didn't stop some of them from asking each other to the prom. Monticello resident Jessica Kyle and Christopher Ball from Smithfield both attend the Open High School of Utah.

"We talked online about it, he asked me online," Jessica said.

The schools are designed for students who need more flexible school schedules or some extra one-on-one attention.

"For students who struggled in a more traditional setting. For students with health needs that need a more flexible schedule this can be a good opportunity for them. Basically any student that needs that more flexible schedule, and needs that extra one-on-one attention," said Jackie Hayes, English teacher for Utah Connections Academy.

Many of the students from the online schools also participate in activities like athletic and academic teams or clubs at public schools as well.