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Aug 7, 2012

Bright Spots - Homeschooling Opens Doors for Olympian Gymnast Elizabeth "Ebee" Price

Charity Klicka

   Gymnast and homeschooler Elizabeth Price has earned a place as an alternate to the United States Women’s Gymnastics Team, after years of hard work and determination. With a combination of both raw talent and vigorous training by Coach Donna Strauss of the Parkettes of Allentown, PA, sixteen year old "Ebee" has had success. 

      Jessica Parnell, of Bridgeway Academy in Catasaqua, PA, explains her joy at seeing one of her students come so far at such a young age. “We have many students who choose a homeschool curriculum while pursuing an athletic career during the high school years, because attending school during traditional hours simply becomes impossible.”

Some wonder if Elizabeth Price forgoes academics in pursuit of an athletic dream. Recent conversations with Coach Parnell provide a different result.  Parnell says, “The flexibility of homeschooling allows for students to receive an excellent education during the times when they are not at the gym or traveling. At Bridgeway, we guarantee that our curriculums exceed academic standards and are recognized by major universities and employers alike.” 

   Elizabeth’s mother, Diane Price, also agrees wholeheartedly with Parnell's observation, “Once we finally decided to try homeschooling, the process wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. Elizabeth is actually very excited about her coursework through Bridgeway. She loves science, and is actually thinking about pursuing a career in bio-medical engineering.”

   From a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, many universities are adjusting their admissions policies for homeschoolers. Each year the esteemed Harvard University admits up to 10 applicants who have been homeschooled. “In general, those kids do just fine,” says David Illingsworth, Senior Admissions Officer for the university. He adds that the number of applications and inquiries from homeschoolers is “definitely increasing.”

   With the power behind being named an alternate to the 2012 United States Gymnastic Team and the advantage of being homeschooled, the Price’s hopes of universities for Elizabeth are heightened. In fact, the potential for a hearty scholarship is quite likely. “Many families are seeing the true value of a quality homeschool education,” Parnell says. “It’s exciting, it’s flexible, and it’s customized. We are available to parents every step of the way – you don’t have to be a scholar yourself to teach your children well.” 

   “Elizabeth was traveling quite a bit by the sixth grade, and was missing a lot of school as a result. Trying to stay caught up became extremely difficult", Mrs. Price explains. Although Diane experienced a bit of trepidation when opting to homeschool – “I really needed some hand-holding,” she conceded laughingly, once the decision was final, everything just seemed to fall into place.

   "This is the best time of my career," Ebee wrote in an email correspondence recently, "this is such a great experience and it's one of a kind."

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