PARIS — So many high school seniors have been short-changed as the pandemic wiped out many of the traditions that they expected to enjoy. But for South Paris homeschooler Amber Lynch, it was not about to ground her.

Taught mainly by her mother, Nancy, from the third to the ninth grade, Lynch was able to escape much of the frustration other kids experienced as they bounced between hybrid and remote learning. Nancy, who has a background in mathematics education, is still involved with Lynch’s curriculum. But during the past three years the teen has taken on a more complicated study track.

She joined the engineering and architectural design program at Oxford Hills Tech School her sophomore year. And as she started her junior year she began taking online classes at the University of Maine Augusta to start earning college credits. By the time she goes off to Liberty University in Virginia next fall she expects to transfer 20 credits toward her undergraduate degree.

Lynch plans to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in aviation. Ideally she will find herself employed by NASA in the future. And as far as getting flight experience, she’s well on her way to that too; she flies single engine planes and does mechanics on them with Propelling the Gospel, an aviation ministry based in Standish.

Amber Lynch already has flight experience and hopes to become a licensed pilot. Supplied photo

“Working at NASA would be a dream,” she declared. “I would love to design air craft structures. And I would love to be a private pilot at some point.”

Amber Lynch co-pilots single engine planes with Propelling the Gospel, an aviation ministry group. Supplied photo

When she flies, the pilot handles the take-offs and landings, but while in the air Lynch handles all the instruments. On the ground she can change the oil, replace panels and do other basic maintenance.

“Liberty has a huge aeronautics program,” she said. “They have a fleet of 25 Cessnas and about five larger planes at the airport that’s next door.”

Building things is second nature to Lynch. As part of her homeschooling studies she took part in First Lego League, a robotics program. She built about 10 robots over the six or seven years she participated, taking them to team competitions and state championships.

“We would build robots that might be lighter, or stronger to pick up certain things,” she said. “They are about one foot by one foot. Even though they’re designed by Lego they’re not like your normal Legos. They come with three to four inch brains and we would add wheels or other things. We’d build them and take them apart every week. We built one that could hold 60 pounds.”

Amber Lynch of South Paris is about to make the jump from independent homeschooler to Liberty University. She expects to start next fall having already earned 20 credits through UMA. Supplied photo

Although Lynch has had a decidedly independent education, she is looking forward to a high school staple coming up in about a month – the prom.

“Prom is June 5,” she said. “It will be in Waterville and there will be 100-200 kids there.”

After graduation, it will be full-steam ahead to Liberty University. With about 45,000 undergraduate students and close to 3,000 faculty, Lynch is ready to make the switch from homeschooling to joining a college community the size of a small city.

“Two of my brothers went there and I have always loved the school, and the atmosphere on campus,” she said. “It’s like a family tradition now.”

 

 

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