Togetherness Helps Meet Needs, Bring Success to Close-Knit Family

by HALEY DAVIS

October 26, 2007

Spending time together; not only in athletics, but also in education was one component that made Texas Tech's Outreach and Distance Education program a success for this special Arlington family.

The Skupien family discovered Texas Tech's Outreach and Distance Education program (ODE) seven years ago when their oldest child, Chris began 9th grade. Mike and Patty Skupien were looking for a program from which their home schooled children could receive an actual diploma. They said it was challenging to find a program that fit all of their needs. "Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a school that would accept a student who was advanced by three years," Patty said. "So began our journey with TTU."

As the oldest son, Chris has always had a desire to learn and enjoyed all of the classes that he took. He especially loved the self-paced classes, Patty said. In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing ice hockey and hanging out with his friends. Through ODE Chris graduated from high school when he was only 15-years-old. Currently, he is a senior philosophy/pre-law major at the University of Texas at Arlington. Chris is considering attending Texas Tech University School of Law next fall.

Matt, Mike and Patty's second oldest son, took every history class the ODE program had to offer. His favorite two classes were history and psychology, Patty said. His interest in his psychology class led him to choose psychology as his major in college. Matt enjoys playing ice hockey and the electric guitar, which he played in their youth group's praise team. Matt is currently a freshman at Texas Tech University.

Timothy, the youngest Skupien boy, is currently a sophomore at ODE and is already preparing for his future career. "He knows that he will study business in college; he wants to be an entrepreneur," Patty said. "Timothy,s favorite part of distance education is being able to sleep in if his hockey practice runs late," Patty said with a laugh. When Timothy isn't playing hockey, he likes to hang out with his friends in his youth group.

The Skupien's believe Texas Tech's ODE program has allowed their children to form a bond with each other that they believe wouldn't have happened if they went to school elsewhere. "They are best buddies and love to spend time with each other," Patty said.

The TTU ODE counselors have been a great help to the Skupien family, especially when certain problems arise, Patty said. "Chris was allowed to graduate three years before expected. Matt suffered a traumatic brain injury during his sophomore year and had to drop his classes for a few months during his recovery and Timothy has severe dyslexia and the one-on-one time he gets with me is vital to his education. TTU's ODE program has been a true blessing to our family."

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