CCA graduate gets full scholarship to Liberty University

Miranda Sheridan is majoring in biomedical sciences and hopes to pursue a career in medicine.

Miranda Sheridan loves volleyball. She plays for the squad at her local high school. She has played travel volleyball.

“I play it practically year-round,” said Miranda, of Chester County. “It’s actually a very mental sport. Not only do you have to know how to execute a play, but if you’re smart enough, you can find different spots to put the ball where the other team isn’t.”

That kind of mental focus led Miranda to enroll in CCA and excel, taking 12 Advanced Placement courses throughout her high school career. The class of 2017 graduate entered CCA in sixth grade because she was “pretty bored at the traditional brick-and-mortar school,” she said. Her old school offered an advanced math class but no advanced English.

“I’d come back from my honors math class and have to sit through a boring English class where I practically knew what they were going over,” she said.

Miranda’s mom, Melanie, had the idea for cyber schooling and found CCA through her research. Miranda needed a bit of adjusting to regulating her schedule and asking for help when she needed it, but she thrived with the opportunity to load up on accelerated courses. CCA let her take all the AP classes allowed — two in each of her freshman and sophomore years, and four in each of her junior and senior years.

“I’m definitely a type A,” she said. “I get pretty stressed out if I’m behind in school. Even during the fall volleyball season, when we were on away games, my friends would joke that I was in my corner on the bus, finishing my schoolwork for the day.”

With such a heavy courseload, the key to success was help from accessible, knowledgeable teachers.

“They’re very interactive with their LiveLessons,” Miranda said. “They’re also readily available when you have questions. You can always contact them.”

In her senior year, Miranda struggled with her AP calculus class during the first semester, so the teacher let her stay after class to go through the trouble spots. Those intervals blossomed into a separate session on days without virtual lessons, when Miranda and her classmates got together for work study and to tackle practice problems together.

“My friends will webmail me to chat and collaborate on projects,” she said. “We help each other through difficulties.”

As early as middle school, Miranda started thinking about a career in medicine. A summer stint as an ophthalmic technician in the office where her father, Peter, is an optometrist offered a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a medical office.

With about 30 college credits already accrued, Miranda is attending Liberty University on a full-tuition scholarship. Her volleyball will be limited to club play at the NCAA Division I school. She will major in biomedical sciences, the premed prelude to a possible career as an ophthalmologist, optometrist, pediatrician, or physician’s assistant.

At home, Miranda has three younger sisters. She enjoys the freedom and adventure of family camping trips — even when a wrong turn in the woods once turned a planned 30-minute stroll into a three-hour hike in the rain.

Miranda’s sisters are all CCA students who “look up to her and are following in her footsteps,” Melanie said. When Miranda needed academic challenges that her old school wasn’t providing and another daughter was struggling with an undiagnosed reading disorder, Melanie found a solution for both in CCA.

“I liked the fact that CCA is more personally geared toward each learner,” she said. “The teachers have always been very supportive. I feel like they know the kids very well.”

As for Miranda's personal preparation, CCA has taught her to be a self-advocate for her education.

“There’s not a teacher sitting here every hour of your schoolday saying, ‘This is what you have to do,’ ” Miranda said. “If you are struggling or if you have extra questions, you’re the person who has to decide that you need to talk to the teacher, or you need to reach out to classmates and work on this. That’s definitely going to be helpful in college because you really are your own boss.”