An eighth grader at CCA recently let her creativity shine when she won the public cyber charter school’s T-shirt design contest.
The contest held by CCA allowed students to compete to design a shirt using only three colors. The winning student, Bryna, will have her design printed on T-shirts and sold in the school store. When formulating her winning design, Bryna created a simple ocean scene out of the CCA logo.
“I wanted to participate because I love when there’s any sort of art contest,” said Bryna, who lives in Lancaster County. “I thought that it would be a really good opportunity to try something different. Usually I draw people and don’t do graphic design work, so it was really fun to experiment with that and see what I can come up with.”
The contest was not Bryna’s first attempt at competing with her art. She has entered online contests that focus on drawing a character or celebrity to gain visibility for her art. She also entered a drawing contest at her orthodontist and received honorable mention.
When she reaches high school, Bryna plans to take advantage of the variety of art classes CCA has to offer. When she is not in school, Bryna spends most of her spare time drawing.
“I’ve been trying to experiment with my art a lot because I feel like I’m finally at a spot where I’m happy with my art,” Bryna said.
In the future, Bryna plans to continue entering art contests and would love to pursue a career in the arts. Bryna said she can see herself working in a variety of artistic fields, from character design and animation to directing films or making music videos.
Bryna also credits CCA’s Career Pathways model that includes internship programs and career counseling for helping her plan for college and hone her skills as she determines a career path.
“There’s a lot of career planning advice that gets more advanced when you’re in high school,” Bryna said. “They have a career planning course now, which is really helpful.”
Before joining CCA in sixth grade, Bryna attended her local public school. While in middle school, Bryna developed benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a type of fainting illness.
Bryna’s mother, Anita, said attending a public school where she would be expected to move frequently and go up and down stairs was not a realistic option for Bryna and her family.
“Being at school and then you feel like you’re going to pass out can cause a lot of anxiety,” Anita said. “The kids didn’t really understand what was going on since she had to get up suddenly and walk out of class.”
”It’s way easier at home,” Bryna said. “I’m not walking around hallways all day. I’m not going up and down stairs. I’m not always having to get up off my chair.”
Anita said CCA was a good fit from the beginning.
“She loved all the teachers and the whole setup of it,” Anita said. “[CCA] is more laid-back, especially for the older kids’ experience. A lot of the stress and tension is gone as far as other kids.”
Bryna said that learning virtually reduces the distractions that accompany attending brick-and-mortar school.
“It’s a lot easier to focus since it’s just you and your computer,” she said.
Being in a virtual classroom where Bryna can remain stationary and not worry so much about her health allows her to focus more on academics. Her family has had experience with other cyber schools with their other children. They chose to join CCA because of the more efficient, advanced technology CCA has to offer compared to their previous school, where tech issues were frequent.
Anita said the proximity of their home to the CCA’s Capital Campus in Harrisburg allows Bryna to attend field trips and events. She also can meet other students in person through clubs offered at CCA – something her previous school didn’t offer.
“Everything is catered to you,” Bryna said. “All of the lessons from the whole year are there, so you can go back and watch the lesson or listen to the recording. Trying out a cyber school can benefit someone greatly. You can do what you want at your own schedule and pace.”
The teachers prioritize one-on-one assistance for students, and Bryna said that, “instead of being focused on a whole class, it feels like you are the main focus.”
Bryna said she is especially grateful for the friendships she has at CCA. When she left her local school, it was difficult to move on from so many friends, especially because she is outgoing and thrives in social settings. At CCA, however, Bryna said, making friends was easy.
“It’s crazy because I made so many friends and it was so easy to do so,” said Bryna, who joined clubs quickly and met other students with similar interests. The welcoming atmosphere that CCA offers helped ease her transition to public cyber charter school.
“If you have a good program like CCA offers and the structure behind it and you give it a chance, it can really work well for you and give you that option,” Anita said. “It’s something I wish somebody would have told me about earlier.”