CCA’s flexible schedule allows learner to excel on soccer field, gain confidence

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Hannah Bowser’s high school soccer team came close to advancing in the playoffs on its path to the district championship, but a loss eliminated the team from competition.

But no painful disappointment here. For Hannah, just playing with other students as part of the Tyrone High School team was a goal fulfilled.

While enrolled in Commonwealth Charter Academy, the Blair County resident competed on her local high school team, joining the other student-athletes for practices and games while juggling her schoolwork and a job at a local Sheetz store.

It was her sixth and final year at CCA. The 18-year-old recently graduated.

“[My parents] liked the idea of cyber school so I could have a flexible schedule and learn at my own pace,” the Snyder Township resident said.

Hannah is the middle child in a large family. She said her mother, Tammi Bowser, looked for a long time for the right school for her and her two younger sisters before deciding on CCA.

While English and science are her strong points, Hannah said, CCA’s varied electives allowed her to embrace her artistic side and study game design and digital photography.

She has a partnership with YouTube through which she makes videos and YouTube places ads on them to monetize her work. She produces skits and writes blogs.

“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in 10 years, but I know I’ll probably be doing something artsy,’’ Hannah said.

As far as soccer, she has played since she was 5. Along with the high school team, she participated in A-1 recreational soccer. Primarily a striker and outside midfielder, Hannah said she plays everywhere, which helped her make friends.

“It worked out really well,” she said. “I’m friends with lots of girls from the team. We have them over to the house.”

Hannah credits her ninth-grade Earth science teacher, William Erler, with changing her attitude about school.

“I was bored before. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this,’’’ she said. “He made me love learning, and it changed everything for me.”

At CCA, she competed with another student in the Pennsylvania Real World Design Challenge, organized by a public-private partnership that runs the contests in various states to interest high schoolers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

For three years in a row, CCA learners have taken first place in the design competition before going on to represent Pennsylvania in the national event. Hannah’s entry involved designing an unmanned aerial vehicle with engineering software and planning a mission to rescue a child lost on a ranch in New Mexico.

From soccer to science to socialization, CCA helped Hannah become a champion on and off the field.

She said soccer and CCA helped give her confidence.

“I used to be socially awkward, but CCA didn’t make me uncomfortable,’’ she said. “It eased me into interacting with my peers. Now, I’m a social butterfly.’’

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