Not your average course

Published 11:45 am Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chelsea Farr has just completed two years worth of AP and honors courses through Insight Online School and now will be atending college this fall. -- Eric Johnson/

Graduate from online high school looks forward to college

As an incoming freshman at Gustavus Adolphus College, Chelsea Farr, of Austin, has a lot of fond memories of high school.

Like prom, which was held at a bowling alley in Eden Prairie. Or her French classes, taught by a teacher living in Kansas. The Austinite won’t have to worry about missing her after-school NASA club — usually held at 8:30 p.m. — or find time for her various AP courses, which were all taught online.

Farr graduated from Insight Schools of Minnesota, an online high school.

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“You have to take it very seriously,” she said.

A laptop adorned with the Insight Schools label sits in front of Chelsea Farr, who used Insight to go through two years of taking AP and honors courses online. - Eric Johnson/

It was tough for Farr to stay in school. Not because she was in trouble (she was an honors student), but her family constantly moved, which meant she was in a new school every year.

That changed when she started at Insight two years ago. The online school, based out of Brooklyn Center High School, provided her with plenty of opportunities. An honors class here, an AP course there, French lessons every day, and sometimes up to 12 hours of work a day.

“Online school is really hard,” Farr said. “Lots of kids think if you go to online school, you don’t have to work. You have more assignments, they’re more challenging and they’re longer too.”

In addition, she was involved in many school clubs, from student council to book club, to a movie critic’s group and photography club. There was plenty to do, and Farr wanted to make the most of it.

“She has busted her butt at online schooling,” said Kiersten Hall, Farr’s mother.

Though she didn’t have much contact with her classmates, it suited them all. Among her fellow students is a junior tennis champion who travels across the country, and a responsible older brother of two autistic siblings who needed someone to stay at home while his parents worked.

That doesn’t mean she didn’t attend field trips, like one she took to the Science Museum of Minnesota. She also attended a graduation ceremony held at BCHS this past June as well.

“We just have fun, we don’t worry about weird stuff like who’s seeing who,” Farr said.

Farr will have some college worries soon. She is taking pre-law classes, as she has wanted to go to Harvard Law School ever since she was 3-years-old. She hopes to become a criminal prosecutor one day.

Though online school may have been more challenging, it wasn’t without its perks. She has the high school diploma (including a diploma card) to prove it.