We’ll take a look at the history of iUP and what makes our school special!

“At the beginning of iUP… it felt like a blank canvas. And now it feels like it’s being displayed, and each year we add another layer of detail to make it better.” 

– Mr. Betancur, Owl Professor 


Have you ever had a day where it feels like it’s going too fast? Where every hour feels like seconds? Maybe you had spent the day at an amusement park with some friends, or simply enjoyed a nice, relaxing weekend with your family. At the end of the day, you look back and think, “that went by way too fast.” This year, iUniversity Prep has reached an important milestone: iUniversity Prep’s Tenth Anniversary. And for many veteran owls who have been here for as long as they can remember, they look back and think “Wow! How did those 10 years go by SO fast?” 

When you’re having fun, things go by quicker than the flap of an owl’s wing. Our school has certainly kept us captivated throughout all these years, and will continue to amaze us as it grows even more. It might surprise some students that in just another ten years, iUniversity Prep will have its 20th anniversary! For now, let’s explore the wonders of our school today!


iUniversity Prep’s Past 

Let’s dive into iUniversity Prep’s past! We can find the history of iUniversity in an article written by iHoot’s very own, Anika Goswami! In her article, she explains the timeline of iUP and how it came to be such a great school. 

iUniversity Prep is a college-prep magnet school created to help students that have busy schedules or different work times, such as actors, athletes, etc. Its first opening year was the 2013-2014 school year, with 10 professors and 100 students. Anika goes on to explain some of the changes iUP has endured since then. Her article is a great explanation of iUP’s timeline! You can find the article here

We interviewed Mrs. Lee, the Dean of Students at iUniversity Prep. She says that, “[When] we opened the school, only grade 6 – 11 was taught. The classes worked similarly, but the [main] difference was that the [students] didn’t have Google Chat. Therefore, they had to communicate through phone numbers and webmail.” Mrs. Lee also notes that some of the other differences of iUP then and now included having “few field trips” and “[a] few clubs…including Book Club, Radio Theater Club, Art Club, but surprisingly, no iHoot until the second year.” 

In another interview with Mr. Wennersten, an Owl Professor here at iUP, he said that, “We were much, much smaller in the beginning. We were a tiny school. Classes were still with Adobe Connect, but we did not have Canvas then. Everything was Connexus based.” He also noted that there were fewer clubs in the past, compared to now. 

The changes made from then to now have shaped our school to what it is today, but what exactly were these changes? How did they help improve our school? In this next section, we’ll take a look at some of the most significant changes to our school. 

iUniversity Prep’s Most Significant Changes  

Over time, our school has been shaped and molded to become the amazing inspiration it is today. Because of the dedication and all the wonderful people that have taken the time to improve our school, the students, staff, professors, and even learning coaches can all have a peace of mind knowing that the environment provided to these students will encourage them to reach for the stars. 

As Mrs. Lee puts it, “The biggest change I can recall was deciding the culture of the school. What I mean by this is the fact that we are not just the kind of school that students come into just to listen to a boring class, but to have a community, and connect kids, having meet-ups and events.”

Think back and reflect on your school years before iUniversity. Have you ever felt as though the classes weren’t exciting enough? As if the teachers were not fully “there”? Instead of your typical boring math teacher, iUP Owl Professors and staff put in an immense amount of time and effort so that when you are in their class, you are not only learning, but enjoying it too!  That is one of the many things that makes our school special, different, and impactful. 

Sasha Dauletau, a Junior here at iUP, said that “The major differences between now and then would be the gradual change from Connexus courses to Canvas and Apex courses, as well as the growing student body.” And JoElle Coats, a Senior and this year’s College Corner Section Editor for iHoot, says that “iUP has always been amazing and continues to stick to their same amazing ways of teaching and supporting their students.” She also mentions that even though the COVID virus has slightly changed the way iUP works, we have been able to bounce back from it, even stronger than before. 

iUP is such an inspirational place where people can come together. And this is all thanks to the staff and professors, who have worked incredibly hard over ten long years to make this school the best they can. We can all agree that they have overachieved. They didn’t just settle, they rose up from the crowd of schools, and today has been crowned among us students as the world’s best online school! Coming up next, let’s take a look at what iUP has become today!


iUniversity Prep Today

We have talked about iUniversity’s past and how it’s changed, but what about today? iUniversity Prep hosts field trips, events, meet-ups for students and teachers, and so much more to help students connect with their peers and professors! Many clubs and organizations have also been set up at iUP to help students spread their creativity and to help students get to know each other. 

Believe it or not, this school year iUniversity Prep has over 20 clubs! School Organizations like OwlPals have been set in place to help new students feel at home. One of the current clubs also doubles as a school organization: Wisely’s Parliament, which helps set up events for students and allows the voices of students to be heard. 

One of the most recent events includes the Back to School Bash. This allowed students to meet up in person and connect with their friends, as well as get to know new people. There also was an event not too long ago where students grouped together to clean up trash in some of their local parks. There really are so many other events to participate in that you normally wouldn’t find in any other online school. That’s part of why iUniversity Prep is so special!

Sasha Dauletau, a Junior here at iUP mentions, “I believe the professors here are superior to other schools because they GENUINELY care about their students and care to hear our thoughts. Additionally, I would sum iUP up as being ‘A school that allows for creative thinking, flexibility, and extra time to have fun and learn more about the world!’” This just proves how other students feel about the flexibility and the overall quality in this school compared to brick and mortar schools. iUP sure has come a long way from where it was 10 years ago compared to now. But it will only get bigger and grow farther as we move forward. You just never know what’s going to happen…


Fun Facts About Our School 

iUniversity Prep is such an amazing place with many little-known easter eggs. Here are some really cool facts that you may not know about iUP. iUPrep has seen it all!

– Going all the way back to year one, iUniversity Prep started out with only 90 students and 10 professors. That does seem like a lot, but compared to iUniversity Prep today at a whopping 1,500 students and roughly 60 teachers, the difference is phenomenal! 

– Believe it or not, Wisely (iUniversity Prep’s mascot) has been around for all ten years! During one of their staff meet-ups, they had made a google form for the students to vote who they wanted to be the light of our school. Then, they took the final results, created the character on a computer, and ta-da! From that day forward, they have used that exact drawing of Wisely that was created all those years ago, and she is now known as the wisest in town! According to Mrs. Lee, “Wisely is also getting a new look, and her makeover is going to be announced and presented sometime this year!” I bet everyone can’t wait to see how Wisely’s new style will turn out! 

– Have you ever wondered how the term “waffling” came to be a sign of spamming or going off topic in Live Lesson rooms? Well, here’s the history of a very true story. One time in the middle of a Live Lesson class, a student yelled out, “Do you like waffles?” while the professor was teaching their class. Everybody broke out in laughter, including the professor! It was just a joke that stuck all the way until now. So, from then on, anything off-topic became known as waffling.


Owls’ Views on the Heart of iUP 

We all know our school is incredibly special, and holds an irreplaceable spot in our hearts, but what is it exactly that we all love about our school? That is fully up to you! A wonderful thing about our school is the range of benefits it holds! So, what are some of these qualities? Here are just a few of the amazing quirks of iUniversity Prep… 

Some students love the flexibility of iUP, which helps make it easy for them to practice their extracurriculars, like acting, playing sports…the list goes on. Assignments are completed at the student’s pace, making it easy for them to get ahead days, weeks, even months! As Sports Section Editor Danny Hall says, “I love iUPrep because it gives me flexibility. That way, not only can I do school, but I can do other things such as recording and editing videos for my YouTube channel, making music, and being able to go outside and explore the world.

Other students love the teachers and students that attend this school the most. College Corner Section Editor JoElle Coats says that, “I do remember that a highschool teacher (shoutout to Mr. Rains) came to my local Starbucks to tutor me before my 8th grade staar test. I still remember this many years later because he left an impact on me….[Professors] collaborate with each other to help ALL students, even those outside of their own current students.

We can’t forget the heart of this school… our mascot, Wisely the owl! Wisely is a big part of the school, and without her, it just wouldn’t be the same. Mr. Wennersten comments, “Wisely is just a representation of who we are. She helps give the school an identity. She is part of MY identity and others from the school.” Wisely is one of the supporting walls of our huge community that keeps us up and running. Wisely really is our school’s hero…long live Wisely!

And another well-noted impact of iUP that we can all agree on is the amazing, warm and loving atmosphere we all come together to make and support. Without our community being there for each other, we wouldn’t be able to comfortably express ourselves and be true to who we are. And at the end of the day, that is what sets us apart. We are all true to ourselves, holding each other up, and bringing us together into one big family. 

Co-Editor-In-Chief Natalie McLaren says that, “[iUP is] a great community that fosters good connections with people! I have made some amazing friendships here, ones I’ll never forget nor let go of most likely!” And 7th grader Dawson Baker thinks that iUniversity Prep is one of the best schools “because we have many [awesome] teachers and students.” 

What makes iUniversity Prep special for YOU? What is the “wow!” factor in your everyday school setting? Your professor(s)? The students around you? Maybe it’s the clean, organized feeling of placing your notes in one corner after finishing a test? Imagine not being able to enjoy all these privileges that iUniversity Prep offers! 



After reading about all the amazing history of iUniversity Prep, you’re sure to know –if you didn’t already– that iUP is truly a wonderful and inspirational place. iUPrep holds such a special place in our hearts, and it always will. Our school has been one of the most supportive schools since day one, from classes to clubs to professors, and to all of the wonderful students, too! iUniversity Prep has grown a lot, and it continues to improve over the years. At the heart of this school, we find the amazing school community that has been built over years of progress and determination. Thank you professors, administrators, staff (and of course students!) for 10 wonderful years of iUniversity Prep!