From Homeschool to High School: senior opts to earn high school diploma at public school for final year


Ryan Young, Editor-In-Chief

You have probably seen him in the halls in the morning or heard him greeting you as he passed, senior David Marinchak is new to GLHS after making the decision to enter public school his final year of high school.

Marinchak had been homeschooled his entire life. He experienced both the joys and struggles of being a homeschool student.

“I loved it, it was my way of life. I was homeschooled from 1st grade until senior year, when I finally decided I wanted change,” said David.

In the comfort of his own home, Marinchak was originally taught by his mother who helped him to understand the curriculum and unique schedule.

“So I was homeschooled normally and taught by my mom for two years. Then we used the Pennsylvania cyber charter school system for homeschooling. My mom taught me through that system for a year or so, then after that I was on my own.”

Marinchak had the freedom to choose whether he wanted a mix of traditional face-to-face instruction and online instruction that consisted of virtual classrooms with fellow homeschool students.

“I could choose blended classrooms or virtual classrooms. I chose mainly virtual classes. I enjoyed the online interaction with students and teachers over the headset and whiteboard PowerPoint. My virtual classes were set up very similarly to how the high school classes are.”

While Marinchak acknowledges that the classrooms were very similar to GLHS, he also describes the challenge to develop close friendships through an online setting.

“I had many friends online, it was just kinda hard to communicate over texting or email and for me I need to be physically with a person to create a stronger bond. I don’t have to be but it’s easier.”  

For Marinchak, the lack of face-to-face collaboration and communication was a major factor in deciding to enter public school his final year.

“I was just burnt out from years of staring at a computer screen. I’m a very sociable person and sitting at a desk wasn’t for me. For some people it might be, but not for me. I wanted change. Since it’s my senior year I wanted to experience it, it’s something I always wanted to try but was too nervous to until now.”

The transition was easier for Marinchak due to the friendships he had already formed through Greater Latrobe’s homeschool sport opportunity. The district allows students who participate in homeschooling programs in the local community to play on the school sports teams.

“I’m pretty sure just since I lived in Latrobe school district they allowed me to swim and do track and field so I was fortunate since some schools don’t allow it,” said David.

Another factor in switching to public school for Marinchak was the other homeschool students that had already transitioned into GLHS.

“A lot of my friends that used to be homeschooled go to Greater Latrobe now and it helped open them up to the world. I’ve met so many wonderful people, one of them finally convinced me to come and I can’t thank them enough. If anything it helps me stay open minded and see what the world is all about,” said David.

After attending GLHS for the first quarter thus far, Marinchak was surprised by one thing.

“Honestly I’m surprised with how nice most people are. I love the school and the teachers and they are all very helpful. I have a lot of friends here before I came but I was very nervous I wouldn’t fit in. But I’ve learned everyone fits in their own way, and if you treat everyone with respect you’ll get respect in turn. You don’t have to fit in at Greater Latrobe, I am able to just be myself.”

With positive reviews from Marinchak, it seems the only remaining question that haunts the reader’s mind is the amount of homework homeschool students face in comparison.

“There was just about the same amount of homework. For PA cyber I feel I had a lot more small tests and quizzes. They were due at a specific time instead of just during the next class day. All of the teachers were different though so it was different for every class.”