Claire McBride is valedictorian of the class of 2022 at the Maine Connections Academy online charter school. Courtesy of Maine Connections Academy

Maine Connections Academy, the state’s first online public charter school, has named Richmond’s Claire McBride major for the class of 2022.

McBride began attending Maine Connections Academy in 8th grade after years of home schooling to gain access to a wider range of academic and extracurricular activities in high school.

In addition to her academic success, McBride participated in various clubs – ranging from the school magazine to the National Honor Society to the baking club. However, it’s her work with her community robotics team 4-H that stands out the most, as she says it ultimately helped her find a passion for engineering. His team, Delta Prime Robotics, is growing in importance in Richmond.

She credits the online charter school’s flexible curriculum with allowing her to fit these activities and work experience into her schedule. It also benefited her when the pandemic hit, as she was already used to learning at her own pace online.

“Everything changed, but the only thing that didn’t change was school,” she says.

McBride spoke at the school’s June 3 graduation ceremony at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, urging his classmates to be proud of the obstacles they’ve overcome in recent years and to carry on those lessons in the next adventure.

“The same perseverance, courage and strength that have gotten us through the past four years and met the challenges are the same that will see us through the next four – whether it’s college, a job, a trade school, the military or just take a break from it all,” she said.

She was also recognized as a recipient of the Principal’s Award, which is given to a student who has demonstrated outstanding academic and social commitment while at Maine Connections Academy.

McBride is moving to Northeastern University. She will be attending this fall with the goal of earning a degree in mechanical engineering, which matches her love of math and science. Her goal is to eventually pursue a career in the biomedical field.

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