Cyberschool friends Shad and Cooper

By Markus Ramos

northeast time

Like many fourth graders, Shad Spencer from the Northeast has a best friend who attends his school. Shad’s best friend’s name is Cooper. However, what makes Shad and Cooper’s relationship unique is that the boys attend Agora Cyber ​​Charter School and live on opposite sides of Pennsylvania.

“We met in 2021 and have been just friends ever since,” Cooper said.

In third grade, the two met for the first time in a class and as the teacher kept dividing them into groups as partners, the two started talking and realized they had a lot in common. What could the two talk about, you ask?

“Life,” Shad bluntly told the Northeast Times. “If necessary, we also help each other with projects.”

When Shad’s mother, Brittney, saw commercials for Agora four years ago, she thought it would be a good fit for her son. After a tough six months of public school experience, she found it too easy for Shad and wanted him to learn more and be challenged. In doing so, he also found an important first in the life of a child.

“I really like the online school,” said Brittney. “We had a terrible time because we were homeschooling him. Much of what he learned he already knew. We started with him when he was in kindergarten. Cooper is Shad’s first boyfriend. It may be difficult to make new friends in online school, but it takes more work to keep that friend.”

For Cooper’s mother, Tracy, choosing Agora Cyber ​​Charter was due to the challenges the world was facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She [the school Cooper attended] just weren’t ready for the whole online process,” Tracy said. “I wanted a very structured, regimented system that’s already in place, rather than waiting for counties to try to piece it together.”

She continued:

“The boys had to work so hard to get to know each other,” Tracy said. “It’s not like you sit down and build Lego together and just talk about things. For her, all her time is talking, so you don’t have that picture. Good for them because they’ve been trying so hard to stay close.”

Since Cooper lives just outside of Pittsburgh, the buddies see each other virtually and on the phone every day after school. The guys play Fortnite online and even sync movies together and watch them via FaceTime. To celebrate this new year and Shad’s birthday, the Spencer family traveled to Pittsburgh for the first time to ring in 2023 in person with Cooper’s family. It was the second time the guys were together in person and the guys had a lot of activities planned for the meeting.

“We played soccer together and as usual we also played games,” Shad said. “We have to watch the ball fall on New Year’s Eve and play Nerf guns too. Cooper got me a Nerf gun for my birthday.”

Neither Brittney nor Tracy knew what to expect when they first met to take the boys to Dorney Park for their first play date. according to dr However, according to Agora CEO Rich Jensen, online relationships created through virtual learning like those of Shad and Cooper happen more often than you might think.

“One of the benefits of online learning is that we’re really a no-zip school,” Jensen said. “We have students from Philadelphia to Scranton and Pittsburgh to Erie and everywhere in between. It only adds to the learning experience.” ••


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