Vero Beach student dives into sea turtle conservation

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Florida resident Cori McWilliams may only be 13-years-old but the star student has already undertaken a very critical responsibility: sea turtle conservation.

Her story begins in 2008 when she visited an environmental center that focused on the local environment. Right then, she was hooked on sea turtle conservation. The center, located in the middle of Archie Carr Refuge, is one of the most important sea turtle nesting grounds in the world.

“How could I not be interested,” McWilliams said. From then on, she made it her mission.

Her mother, Celeste, decided to enroll her daughter in Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Full Time, a statewide Kindergarten-12 online public school open to students from every county in Florida.

“FLVS Full Time provides the best opportunity for that whole, well-rounded experience. The flexibility of Cori’s schedule has allowed her to participate in countless marine conservation activities while still gaining that high quality education experience,” Celeste said.

McWilliams has started her own conservation club called “Kids for the Sea” and spends most of her free time planning beach clean-ups and collaborating with other conservation groups on projects.

She has had the honor of attending and speaking at many events across the state, including the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in Sarasota and the Florida Marine Science Educators Association Conference in Tampa.

“Having this schedule flexibility has provided Cori with amazing opportunities and ‘real-world’ experience into the conservation field, many of which would not be possible while attending a traditional school,” Celeste said.

As a fully accredited public school with a traditional academic calendar from August to June, FLVS Full Time offers comprehensive, full-time, tuition-free online learning for all Florida students.

The school delivers a structured schedule with built-in flexibility through two options: FLVS Full Time Kindergarten-5 and FLVS Full Time 6-12. Courses are available online 24/7, allowing students the flexibility to study any time and any place.

In addition, students meeting Florida graduation requirements are able to receive a standard Florida diploma. The combination of certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning environment for families and students who want a personalized education.

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