Hannah Quarnstrom


Online courses allowed me to experience high school and enroll in rigorous coursework while still taking care of myself and allowing me to follow my dreams. To me this is a life lesson that was learned early and will carry me far into my future.

Hannah Quarnstrom

When I was a freshman in high school, my entire life changed. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Having Crohn’s makes school and life difficult at times. I often have doctor appointments and needed more time to sleep than a regular teenager. I heard many stories of other students with Crohn’s just giving up on school, and I knew this journey through high school would be much more difficult for me than the average high school student.

But then I found my solution. I enrolled in online courses at a local charter school that focused on customized education, empowering me take courses at my own pace. At times, I would sit with my computer on my lap and an IV in my arm living two lives — one of education, the other of treatment. Online schooling allowed me to live the way Crohn’s forced me to while still pursuing my dreams.

In my junior year, I discovered that a local university offered free online college courses to academically prepared high school students in their last two years of high school. Being ambitious, I took most of my courses this way as an upperclassmen. I enrolled in amazing course offerings. Because of my prior blended learning experience, I was extremely successful and through this program I have earned numerous college credits without stepping foot on a college campus.

Through my online courses I have learned not only the content taught, but other valuable skills such as time management and self-advocacy skills. I have learned that I am the determining factor in my education and what I get out of it, not the instructor or other peers in my classes. Not only have I been able to learn more in my classes, but also I have been able to do my work when it fit with my schedule around my Crohn’s disease.



Stacy, MN


North Lakes Academy


University of Minnesota