After two years at Mountain View and a short stint at COCC, Ramon Matejsek chose to attend school in a warehouse for his senior year.
“I kind of wanted a different experience so I came here, and it has been a pretty cool experience so far,” he said.
“Here” is REALMS High School, a new, smaller, magnet-type high school in Bend.
“We have a much more personal connection with the teachers just because there are less students to the teachers and I think most of the teachers do make an effort to get to know you and help you along on a personal level,” Matejsek said.
That’s exactly the idea behind REALMS High School.
Matejsek is part of the school’s first graduating class; 20 seniors walked the stage Wednesday night in Bend.
REALMs High school opened in the fall of 2018, but without any upper-classmen.
This class of 2021 started as sophomores and is now the school’s first-ever graduation.
“They have not had a class to look up to and they have forged their own path,” said Principal Roger White.
White has been there since the school opened, watching students grow and learn every step of the way.
“I think they are excited; I think they are nervous; I think they feel ready in lots of ways,” White said.
Michelle Hanford, a teacher, has been with this class from the start.
“They are compassionate, intelligent, creative, hardworking and most importantly they’re just really a profound part of our community and I appreciate every one of them and congratulate their work,” Hanford said.
Now Hanford and White will watch their students receive a REALMS diploma for the first time in school history.
“They have worked to prepare for their college and career options after this school year,” White said. “I think everyone is really excited. I think that is the simplest way to put it.”
Skyline High School shared the warehouse with REALMS and held its graduation Tuesday.
The two schools will merge under the REALMS name next year.
With the closure of Skyline High School enrollment at Realms will increase from about 150 students to 250.
Matejsek plans to attend OSU-Cascades In the fall, studying Conservation Biology.