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1st Place: Wiley Skaret

HSLDA Online Academy had the opportunity to talk with Wiley over the phone recently to ask him about his plans for college, his charity (James 1), and his traveling piano. Before you read about his plans, you can watch his video submission below and read his essay here


Wiley has really enjoyed his homeschooling experience, which allowed him the flexibility to pursue his piano education and passion. After winning a piano competition where he threw himself headlong into preparation to perform Scriabin's Fifth Sonata, he asked himself why he worked so hard. 

Then, he found a Steve Jobs quote: "The journey is the reward." This idea helped Wiley realize that the competitions weren't about winning but about how much better he became because of his hard work. This gave birth to his desire to unite his piano playing to social causes. 

For his charity, Wiley and his team are working on forming scholarship committees in both the US and Colombia, the regions from which the scholarship recipients will be chosen. 

This fall, Wiley will be attending Stanford University because he wants to learn at a place where people are smarter than him. He wants to work in the financial sector after graduating—in HSLDA Online Academy's AP Microeconomics and AP Macroecomonics courses, he learned that lives are bettered in the free market system because everyone has a right to freedom. He connects his passion for studying the free market with his piano skills by saying that both business and art are really both ways of serving people—just with different methods.

Wiley left this advice for students at HSLDA Online Academy and for everyone else: if you see a problem, start taking the steps to fix it. Be willing to take the extra step, find a team, and work together to make it happen. In Colombia, he saw that the families of slain police officers were being left behind, so he decided to do something about it. He started James 1 because he's an entrepreneur and just wants to help and serve others.

Congratulations, Wiley! The Academy is looking forward to seeing who else you help in college and beyond!