A car wreck can be a terrifying experience, but for Kiera Pritchett, it was just another time her education applied to the real world.
“I was on my way to work, I was riding the bus, and the car wreck happened, a couple cars in front of us,” said Pritchett, 16, recalling the scene from a few months ago. “I asked to get off, and I ran to the scene because I had been taught how to handle an emergency situation like that before.”
She came up to the incident, where a car had overturned, making sure those involved were OK until emergency responders could arrive.
“I just kind of did a basic overview, made sure there was no liquid coming out of their ears — that could be a result of a head injury,” Pritchett said.
She learned some of her health-science knowledge at a traditional high school in Texas, but now, living in Centennial, she's enrolled in Destinations Career Academy of Colorado, an online public school that touts itself as allowing students to tailor education to their goals and interests. It also provides students more flexibility to pursue passions outside of school, a news release noted.
Pritchett, who has studied cadavers at Red Rocks Community College and competes in a state conference on health occupation knowledge, said it's paid off.
How'd you get started in online school?
When my family decided to move from Texas to Colorado, I kind of saw this as a good fresh start.
I started doing some research about different schools. I found out about Destinations and how they have specific career pathways, and so they had a lot more health science programs and a lot more classes centered around what I was looking for.
What kind of career are you hoping for?
I've kind of been leaning back and forth between a general surgeon and a medical examiner. And after doing the cadaver lab, I realized, whoa, this stuff is cool. I'd probably say it started when my mom and I used to watch all those crime reality TV shows like “Forensic Files” and “Law and Order,” so I think that's probably where I was like, whoa, this would be something cool to do.
What's the online experience like?
My classes are all online, but we have interactive things that you go to — we actually had a winter social kind of thing, a lot of the kids were able to come to the office and hung out and got to know each other. So it's not just online — you have interactive things where you can meet your teachers and students you have class with. It's in Westminster.
We each have our own schedules, but we'll log in to the home page. You have your class times for the day, so you just click on it … there's a video (feature) in the corner, so your teacher can hop on there and you can see them and interact with them. Off to the left, there's a chat box, and a little box with all the kids in the class, so we can chat with each other freely.
What were the challenges you faced in traditional school?
My previous high school in Texas, it was great, but it was brand new. So it had only been open for about a year. And the health science classes they offered were very limited. Teachers were still trying to learn the curriculum, and so the difference between there and with the online school is they know what they're doing, they've been around, they've learned from their mistakes … and what works and doesn't work.
Has it made a difference?
It helped me with time management and how to prioritize and how to just stop procrastinating … it helped me have the mentality of, if I just get it done now, I won't be stressed out.
If you're thinking about (online school), I would definitely give it a try. This is my first time doing online school, and I was kind of like eh, I don't know — but it's definitely paid off.
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