Crossroads FLEX allows grad to chase her dreams and win big
June 16, 2017
What at first seemed like her last chance turned into a new beginning for Caroline Weaver.
Caroline is an equestrian who has spent over half of her young life riding, showing and loving horses. But the requirements of being in school every single day were cramping her style a bit.
It was at a regional horse show with her mother that it all became clear to Caroline.
“I just looked at my mom and said, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t do online school,’” said Caroline. “It was my last shot, kind of. It was my swan song.”
‘The perfect thing’
Photo copyright Steve McMillen
Caroline was referring to her last chance to ride on the national circuit for her final eligible year as a junior rider. Having a more flexible schedule at school would allow her the necessary time to travel and train.
So Caroline and her mom found Crossroads FLEX High School, where students who have time-consuming outside pursuits can combine face-to-face learning with online courses.
“We came to Crossroads FLEX, and it was the perfect thing,” said Caroline, who was among 17 members of the new school's first graduating class on June 9.
Horses have been Caroline's life since she was eight years old. After trying soccer, ballet and figure skating, both Caroline and her twin sister Ally finally landed on horses, literally and figuratively.
While Ally eventually turned to theater and cross-country running as her main outside interests, Caroline has stayed in the “crazy horse world” she loves so much.
Caroline has picked up a few awards along they way, including the best child rider in the state by the North Carolina Hunter and Jumper Association (NCHJA), along with winning the finals twice in the organization’s annual Equitation competition. She also has made the finals in several national competitions.
Keeping up with her coursework while pursuing her passion was getting more and more stressful. That’s where Crossroads FLEX helped.
‘It’s not going to be easy’
Being an equestrian has taught Caroline discipline and responsibility. She’s also enjoyed serving as a role model for younger riders. And it’s given her an opportunity to see much of the country through competitions.
While her coursework has prepared her academically, it was at Crossroads FLEX where she learned the value of time.
“Something that’s really important is time management. You’re away from your parents, you’re totally on your own. Coming into Crossroads FLEX, I was definitely challenged,” she said. “Crossroads FLEX has prepared me really well to manage my own time.”
My advisor told me, ‘It’s not going to be easy.’ And it is not easy.”
She credits the support system both online and through Crossroads FLEX and the North Carolina Virtual Public School.
“(The teachers and counselors are) here to help me, not just perpetuate their careers. They’re here to see that I as a student accomplish my goals.”
Caroline had a demanding course load this year, with three AP courses and two honors courses. She learned a lot about how to get things done efficiently. When not at school or at the stables, she completed much of her coursework at her home dining room table - or at the coffee shop.
Photo copyright The Book LLC
‘Exhaust all your options’
Caroline’s dedication both to her work and her passion for horses has paid off. She was recruited by the NCAA to attend Baylor University, partially supported by an equestrian scholarship. She will compete at the Division I level.
What’s her advice for those who will follow?
“Set goals as soon as you can. Exhaust all your options. Use all the resources you have. Never be afraid to ask questions,” she said. “You can never look bad for asking questions but you can look bad for not knowing what you should know when you get to a certain point.”
This played out while she was looking at colleges. She was recruited by Baylor through solid contacts she had made in the equestrian world.
“Equestrian is an emerging sport. If I was a football player, I could go online and say, ‘Hey how can I get recruited for football?’” she said. “But for equestrian there really aren’t those resources. You have to use your social resources … the people you know … even the people you might not know.”
“Setting goals, sticking to them and using the resources you have is so important in getting where you want to be when you grow up.”