While BYU Online High School may be all online—you won’t see students roaming the halls of this virtual institution—it still operates like a traditional high school with administrative personnel who manage all the details that happen behind the scenes. One of these administrators is Principal Brad Lester, who took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about BYU OHS, how the high school runs, and what his hopes are for the coming year.
What is your favorite part of working with BYU OHS students?
“Our students are a really special group of young people. I am amazed at their determination, hard work and creativity. But what is most impressive is how they treat one another. These amazing young men and women are so kind and respectful. I’m honored to call them friends and only hope I can be the same kind of examples to others that they are to me.”
What is unique about the student body at BYU OHS?
“I love that our students literally come from all over the world. It’s such an exciting thing to know that what we do is blessing the lives of students from so many continents, countries, and cultures. As we continue to grow, this diverse population of students will provide valuable perspectives and deepen our understanding of and appreciation for the amazing uniqueness of Heavenly Father’s children.
“As you drive onto the campus of Brigham Young University, you are greeted by a sign that says, ‘The world is our campus.’ I have always loved that idea, but as we see our global population of students increase at BYU Online High School, I love even more that the world is OUR classroom.
What surprised you about this first school year (2020–2021) with OHS?
“I have been most surprised by the efforts of our student council members. They all have very unique talents and abilities but what is most impressive is their drive. From the moment they were assigned to their student council roles, they individually and collectively took very proactive steps to get organized and start working together. Give the BYU OHS student council a task, and it gets done well. They continue to impress and inspire me.”
Which events were exciting and memorable this year?
“During our initial enrollment efforts in 2020, we interviewed each prospective student with their parent(s). I really enjoyed getting to know each of the families at that time and learning about their reasons for wanting to be part of BYU Online High School. Those meetings are some of my favorite interactions.
“At the beginning of the school year, we held a kick-off assembly via Zoom. We shared the history of high school at BYU and emphasized the amazing legacy that our high school represents. We also invited a special guest speaker, a graduate of the BYU High School class of 1966. He shared what it was like to be a high school student at BYU HS during that time. I love connecting the history of Brigham Young Academy and Brigham Young High School to our current global school (BYU OHS), and our kick-off assembly was a great start to what has been a great year!”
What are you looking forward to in the 2021–2022 school year?
“I’m really looking forward to welcoming a new group of students to BYU OHS and seeing them become part of the amazing school culture we are nurturing. I’m confident that they will find a welcoming group of returning students who will quickly help them feel like family.”
What would you like prospective students to know about BYU Online High School?
“I want our prospective students to know what a welcoming place BYU OHS is. That might seem like an unlikely characteristic for an online high school where the students come from many different places and where much of the work they do is done independently. However, our goal has been—and will continue to be—building an active and interactive school community where students get to have a high school experience and not just online classes. Whether someone chooses Open Enrollment or Semester Enrollment, BYU OHS provides an environment where kids can interact with and learn from their fellow students in a safe, welcoming, faith-friendly environment.”