CCA provides endless opportunities for cyber students to excel

Cyber school allows students to learn at their own pace and pursue their interests.

Ana Donaghy was looking for a school that offered her children the ability to pursue their passions and provide them with learning opportunities beyond the classroom. Her daughters, Christine and Michelle, live in Cumberland County and are advanced students. Ana wanted a school to challenge them academically. 

Christine graduated from CCA in 2016 at the age of 15. She graduated from Central Penn College in two years and has a bachelor’s degree in IT. Michelle has been enrolled at CCA since kindergarten and will graduate in June at the age of 15, too. Christine and Michelle were able to take advantage of the cyber school’s flexibility to work ahead in classes and graduate early. Here’s what Ana had to say about her family’s experience at CCA.

Q: Why did your family enroll at CCA?

A: The public school didn’t work for our family. Our kids are gifted, and they are more advanced. They want to learn. At home, they are happy and we are happy. The only problem I have is that I am bilingual and my English needed help. When we went to a meeting at CCA, they gave me a lot of support. Michelle has been enrolled since kindergarten. All of the opportunities the school has given us are amazing. She’s taking college classes and doing excellent. She loves it, and she’s also an intern in the aquaponics lab. She likes to learn. I’m very proud of the school we chose, and it’s also safe.

Q: Why did you switch schools?

A: I put her in kindergarten at the local school for a few months, and she would come home sad. The students are coming from different families and the teacher would scream and my child was afraid. We didn’t want that for our kid. I don’t need that because we have a good family at home. That wasn’t working for us. So we tried this school and she loves CCA. She’s a very fast learner. She was happy and is still happy. I love to see her when she does something with passion. Her education at CCA is amazing. You can see the face of your child when they do something because they want to do it and it’s not someone pushing her to do it. 

Q: How have you seen her grow as a student and person since she started at CCA?

A: After we switched her to CCA, she was more relaxed. She was like a sponge. She loves to learn and do experiments. She’s amazing in math. Going to the school in Harrisburg and being exposed to the teachers and classmates, she loves to help classmates and is involved in a lot of activities. I think she’s doing amazing. She’s very demanding of herself.

Q: How has having your kids enrolled at CCA impacted you as a parent?

A: I have an opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. I stopped working, and I began learning more about their education. Michelle has the ability to learn fast, and you can go at your own pace at CCA. You can’t do that at other schools. The school is growing. The more opportunities the student has to learn. She’s a self-learner. She learned how to play guitar and piano. We learn a lot about our daughter in how we are involved with the school. We also go on field trips, and as parents we get to meet the president of the school and teachers. We are very involved with the education of our daughter. It makes you feel like you’re part of a family. The feeling the school gives you is positive. You can work together and build something.

Q: What do you want most for your children?

A: I want my daughter to be happy. I want my daughter to be successful. I want her to be confident. I want her to be free and when she does something that she does not feel peer pressured. I think that what we’re building in her, she’s making her own choices. She’s successful and knows what she wants. She can think before she acts.

Q: What’s something you love about CCA that you weren’t getting from your previous school?

A: I love the freedom and opportunity for learning. I love the safety. She can do anything – whatever she wants. You have an amazing opportunity that I don’t think I could get at another place. Every staff member is amazing. You can call, and they are going to call you back. The opportunity Michelle has is amazing. Everyone was concerned about socialization, but our life is different. Maybe we don’t see our friends physically, but there is a time of the year that you will see your friends in different community activities. The drop-in center is amazing. She’s doing the [AgWorks] internship at the school. She met some friends, and then she takes her class. It’s something positive. If you are close by the [Harrisburg] area, you have to go see it. Children love to learn. You need to expose the child to it. It’s OK to be younger and enroll at CCA.

Q: How has CCA supported your family?

A: In the beginning, I understood the technology but I wasn’t exposed to learning online. So we had a person who came over to our house and [taught] me how to use the computer. My older girl learned fast. We learned that we found the right place with CCA. 

Q: How does CCA support gifted students?

A: Sometimes as a parent, you think, “Am I doing the right thing?” But we realized that we did the best we can. I’m very happy. My older daughter said that she’s very glad with the choice that we made. She initially thought she wasn’t going to make it in college. Now, she’s graduating summa cum laude. The little one decided she wanted to try college classes at CCA. When I see her eyes and she explains what she’s doing, you are just proud. My kids are amazing.

Q: When did you realize CCA was a good fit for your family?

A: The academics are amazing. They are challenged all the time. They can take whatever classes they want. Being in a public school, if your child is bullied by someone, you’re not going to know. We have opportunities to go on field trips with other families who are thinking the same way. We want our children to be safe. We want our children to learn and be happy. You want them to learn, have passion and be safe. 

Q: How does it make you feel to see your daughter happy and successful in school?

A: It’s amazing. I can’t believe how much she’s grown, how well she talks. She’s a successful young lady. When you see your child become successful, you just look and say, “Wow, look what I did.” I’m very happy and proud. 

Q: What are her plans after high school?

A: We visited different campuses, and she would ask a lot of questions. She said she doesn’t want to be in debt after finishing her college degree. So we had a lot of opportunities but we chose something close by because she’s younger and she can transfer when she finishes if she wants. You can’t believe what she’s doing at such a young age. 

Q: Why do you think it’s important for families to have a choice in what school their child attends?

A: We need to have a choice in where we want to put our children. If your child is not happy, you’re probably not going to have a successful student and they are going to be hating their education. You want to have a choice that your child can be happy, safe and learning something that they want. There are so many good activities you can try at CCA. It’s safe, and if you need help the school will help you talk to your student. 

Q: How does CCA work for your family?

A: CCA works for my family because it helps us to go on the right path with our children’s education, the safety and making our students successful for the future.


High School Learner