“Online/Blended learning changed my life. Without it, I would not be here. Without it, I would be left behind. Without it, I would not be who I am.”
– Mariah Mayhugh
When I was roughly eight years old I was diagnosed with epilepsy. It was a really scary time, in and out of Childrens Hospital, and trying to get my disease under control. The scariest thing, though, was the uncertainty of my future. I was told that I would not succeed and that things such as reading and writing would be a struggle. It was unlikely I would excel in high school; I would be lucky to graduate. This is why online/blended learning became a savior for me.
I was homeschooled prior to joining the program but we knew that it couldn't last forever. What would middle school bring—never mind high school?
We enrolled in the program when I was in 6th grade. I was able to stay at home most days, sparing me the embarrassment of having to explain to my teachers and classmates my condition. With the flexibility to work when we wanted and without the distraction of other students in the classroom, I slowly began to flourish.
Some of my classes were blended, so I attended a classroom once or twice a week and some solely online. Both models worked for me, since I didn't have to attend a loud, confusing, busy public school five days a week, but I preferred the blended classes as I am an extrovert who loves her friends.
Now, I'm in a position no one ever dreamed of. I am set to graduate not only with my high school diploma this May but my Associates Degree and my CNA certificate from Pikes Peak Community College as well. I have received awards and honors for my academic achievement and not many people know my story—that I'm not just another student that school comes easily to. I had to work hard to beat the odds.