Selina Russell of San Clemente is not your typical high school graduate starting classes at Saddleback Community College this fall.
She is pursuing a career that will unite two of her passions – nutrition and yoga – thanks to unique opportunities afforded her by California Connections Academy @ Capistrano. It’s a tuition-free, online public school that is an alternative to conventional high school. It gave her flexibility to work multiple jobs, including working at a San Clemente yoga studio.
One of the yoga instructors she met there is also a food blogger. Their shared passions for yoga and nutrition led Russell into a new adventure, working part-time as an assistant to Lisa Saremi on her blogs at natureseats.com and eatnuts.com.
“I help her create the recipes, cook the food and photograph it for the blog,” Russell said.
Russell, a June graduate of California Connections Academy, will use skills she learned at part-time jobs and at California Connections to give her a head start toward her desired career as a certified yoga instructor, nutritionist and wellness expert.
During her junior year of high school, Russell worked for a plumbing company and learned QuickBooks to handle invoices, scheduling and other functions. She also worked as a personal assistant and chef for a couple who had a special diet.
In her senior year she worked at Sprouts, took up yoga at Asana Fit in San Clemente, then began working in the yoga studio part-time. Upon meeting Saremi through yoga there, Russell began working part-time on Saremi’s blogs.
All the while, Russell said she was able to earn top grades academically, making honor roll and National Honor Society.
Growing up in San Clemente, Russell said she experienced some emotional issues stemming from a family situation that led to her grandparents stepping in to raise her from an early age. She attended Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School from first to eighth grade, then moved up to San Clemente High School but quickly decided to pursue an alternative.
“It just kind of intimidated me, going from a school of 200 to more than 3,000,” she said. She researched online options and found California Connections, a network of online charter schools that cater to students pursuing distinctive career paths.
“Throughout high school, virtual school gave Selina the flexibility to pursue a high-quality education while holding several jobs in order to save money for college, gain valuable work experience and discover…