Student Features

PA Cyber student photo on display at Vice President’s home

Dec 8, 2015

A photograph by PA Cyber eighth grade student Emily Wingard has been selected for display during the month of December at the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C., along with images by nine other young photographers from across the country.

The monthly rotating display is a new collaboration between National Geographic Kids magazine and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joseph Biden, according to a press release from the magazine.

The photos were chosen by National Geographic Kids editors from images posted on My Shot, National Geographic’s moderated photo community for young people. The selected photo, entitled “Gingerbread Friends,” shows gingerbread men cookie cutters on floured, rolled-out dough. A digital “VP” badge is added to the page of those chosen for the Vice Presidential display.

The website complies with federal regulations for children’s online privacy protection. A portfolio of Emily’s photos may be viewed at her user name Admiral on the My Shot website.

Emily is a daughter of Jeff and Jen Wingard of Dillsburg, Pa., a town between Gettysburg and Harrisburg. She has been a PA Cyber Charter School student since fourth grade.

“Emily does enjoy photography. She even had a picture published in the National Geographic Kids magazine last year, and won first prize for the same picture at a local fair,” said her mother. “Emily researched and purchased her Nikon superzoom camera herself online.”

Jen said the My Shot website “is a really awesome way for kids to display their pictures and critique each other’s work.”

Emily asked to be schooled at home after being severely bullied at school, her mother said. The final straw was that “a girl put her in a headlock and Emily defended herself. The school did nothing to the girl but disciplined our daughter.”

Dissatisfaction with Emily’s academic progress was another reason for trying PA Cyber, Jen said. “Emily was in her school’s Title I program for three years and did not improve. Within the first year with PA Cyber she began to excel and her confidence has just soared.”

Jen said that she and her husband heard concerns from their families about the perceived lack of socialization in cyber schools. “The truth is,” she said, “whether your child is in a brick and mortar school, or home-schooled, or in a cyber school, your child is as social as you want them to be.”

Emily is very social and independent, Jen said. She helps with younger children at their church, volunteers at a local animal shelter and takes art lessons. “She likes Japanese manga art, and drawing and refining her own Pokemon characters.”

Their younger daughter, Gretchen, asked to enroll in cyber school, too. “She didn’t like the distractions in school. There was too much drama. Her focus is on her academics,” said their mom. Gretchen enrolled in PA Cyber in third grade, and is in sixth grade this year.

Emily’s photography, which often looks at tiny objects in nature like snowflakes and flower buds, has taught her mother to look differently at some things: spiders for instance.

Jen said she has always been afraid of spiders, and would usually kill them. But an extreme close-up (macro) photo by Emily of a spider’s face was so beautiful and interesting that her attitude toward them has changed, she said. 

Media Contact

Casie Colalella / casie.colalella@pacyber.org

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.