Taking classes in her pajamas was part of the allure of being homeschooled for the last year and a half, said Melanie Gray. Through a special homeschool extension program offered at Fellowship Baptist in New Port Richey, Melanie was able to learn in the comfort of her own home and work around her job schedule at Big Lots.
"We had our good days and we had our bad days," said Melanie's mom and sole teacher, Denise Gray. "But it worked out well."
School's out, graduation is over and now Melanie plans to look for a second job to help pay for tuition and books for the fall semester at Pasco-Hernando Community College.
One thing about those pajamas, though: They're the reason Melanie is the salutatorian.
She earned the highest GPA of anyone in the program. But Fellowship Baptist's rules say the valedictorian honor must go to a student attending the actual school. So the top spot goes to Jordan Hunter, who had the second-highest GPA.
GPA: 3.5 (unweighted)
Future school: Spectrum School of Ministry, then Pasco-Hernando Community College.
Major: Theology and teaching.
Ideal career: Youth pastor.
Most inspirational person: My mother, Teresa, for working so hard to allow me to have a good education.
Best advice or quote: "If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always got."
Favorite place on campus: My desk because while I was there I could talk to the teachers and listen to their many great stories.
Favorite book: The Bible.
If you could, what would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? I think they should try to improve their reading scores and stop making school impossible to fail.
GPA: 3.8 (unweighted)
Future school: Pasco-Hernando Community College.
Major: Certified nursing assistant, then licensed practical nurse, then registered nurse.
Ideal career: Registered nurse.
Most inspirational person: Alice Roll and my mother, Denise Gray. Alice never let me quit and was always supportive of everything I did. My mom for always being there; loving me unconditionally and for making me feel like I could take on the world.
Best quote/advice: "Follow your heart." My mom, Denise Gray.
Clubs/extracurriculars: Vocal performance. Work as a cashier for Big Lots in Hudson.
If you could, what would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? More funding should actually go toward education instead of being disbursed to pay raises, etc.