Class of 2012: Best of both worlds
Source: Maricopa Monitor
By: Eric Mungenast
May 8, 2012
Radigan uses homeschool, MHS to propel himself to the next level.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if a student who spent the first two years of his or her high school career learning at home had difficulty transitioning to the campus experience. For senior T.J. Radigan, however, it’s the combination of the homeschool background and Maricopa High School experiences that have prepared him for life as an adult.
Radigan, who will attend Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College in the fall, was homeschooled throughout middle school and for his freshman and sophomore years of high school. It was, he said, a pretty fun experience that allowed him to study the subjects he was more interested in while avoiding some of the more onerous tasks the average high school student has to face on a day-to-day basis.
“When I was younger, it was amazing; you get to sleep in and make your own food,” he said.
But as Radigan prepared to enter what would be his junior year in high school, he said he wanted to try a new environment with a classroom structure and teachers with expertise in their respective subjects. His first attempt at a change – a spell at Phoenix Mountain Pointe – didn’t quite work, so he took a second shot and enrolled at the local high school.
The shift is rather marked between the individualized homeschool experience when compared with the average high school campus, but Radigan flourished in his new environment. He became the first student in Maricopa High School history to become a National Merit Scholar – a nationwide recognition that gives more than $13,000 in scholarship money to students who score in the 99th percentile in the PSAT – and finished sixth in his class. He also joined the school’s drama and math clubs and participated in the high school’s We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program.
Radigan’s ability to integrate himself into high school life stems from his naturally effervescent personality and the friends he made in Maricopa before he started attending high school.
“That made it way easier to get acclimated,” he said.
In just a few months, Radigan will enter the classroom for the first time at Arizona State. It’ll be a radically different experience, but he said the years he spent at home undergoing individualized instruction and in larger high school classes have given him what he needs to succeed at the next level.
“I feel I was put where I needed to be at the right time,” he said. “I wouldn’t go back and do it any other way.”