LAPEER, Michigan — Faith Rowley (pictured second from right) is only 18 years old, but she’d like to keep that a secret for a while. Faith, a recent graduate of the Lapeer Homeschool Partnership, isn’t your typical teenager. When she was 15, she started her own photography and videography business and hasn’t stopped booking gigs since.
Her work, which you can see at FaithRowleyPhotos.com, is of a quality that, frankly, her age should be irrelevant.
Faith is an enterprising student from a family of small business owners. What she needed, more than anything, was flexibility during high school in order to pursue her passion.
That’s where the Lapeer Homeschool Partnership (LHP) stepped in. Faith had a friend who had a great experience with LHP and encouraged her to check it out. And once her parents were convinced, she was ready to go.
LHP is a program supported by Lapeer Community Schools and offered to homeschool students in grades K-12 in Lapeer and all adjacent counties. Students can enroll full or part-time and have access to a wide array of academic and extracurricular opportunities including dual enrollment for college credit. The program is directed by Michon Periso, the mother of three homeschooled girls who has lived in the Lapeer area for more than 30 years.
“I chose LHP in order to maximize the time I could invest in my business,” said Faith, who decided during her junior year that she wanted to work full time. “I wanted to create a livable income … it helped me get a head-start on my business.”
Taya Fisher, another recent LHP graduate, chose the program because of its wide array of choices and flexibility.
“They had so many choices as far as what I wanted to go into,” said Taya, who plans on going to college to study social work. “You can work on your own time with no distractions.”
Taya said she was nervous at first, but is confident she made the right choice for her.
“I was nervous at first, but I don’t feel like I missed out on anything,” she said. “We still have all the same opportunities as everyone else.”
Taya and Avery Warren, another recent LHP graduate, took part in commencement with Lapeer High School (LHS) as well as the annual Swingout event downtown.
Avery took it one step further, becoming a member of the LHS varsity volleyball team with the hope of getting an athletic scholarship.
“I really wanted to play volleyball at the high school; that was a huge benefit of the program,” Avery said.
Avery achieved her goal. She received her LHS diploma and is now heading to Madonna University on a volleyball scholarship.
“LHP is a very unique program,” she said. “Everyone wants something different and everyone seems to get it.”
Periso, now in her fifth year as director of LHP, has seen the program grow tremendously as more families experience it.
“We are seeing interest in the program build every day,” she said. “We offer so many choices for so many different types of students, both full and part-time. Parents are starting to recognize the value of these opportunities.”